A little bit of history.

In the world of horse racing, “Switching Sticks” is something jockeys do to keep the horse focused and accelerating towards the goal - the winning finish line.

As a one time jockey pursuing a life of an artist, Switching Sticks has both a literal and figurative relevance to me. I’ve traded my jockey whip for a paintbrush while keeping focused and accelerating towards my goal of capturing the essence and energy of the horse and the people who devote their lives to caring for and working with this magnificent animal.

I grew up in Minnesota on a great farm with wooded hills, a stream with a waterfall, our very own cave and lots of horses. Besides riding every inch of the farm and the surrounding countryside, we hauled to horse shows every weekend  throughout the summer.

Shortly after starting school at the University of River-Falls, WI I took an internship at Bunker Hunt’s Circle T Ranch in Roanoke, TX and entered the world of thoroughbred racing at stage one, breaking babies. When the two-year-olds left for the race track, I followed a load of them to Louisiana Downs were I galloped race horses in the morning and ponied them to post in the afternoon.

Seeking more challenges, I rode my first professional race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AK followed by several years of riding throughout the United States at tracks such as Louisiana Downs; Canterbury Downs; Turf Paradise; Finger Lakes; Rockingham Park and others. I finished my career riding at the New Mexico tracks of The Downs at Albuquerque and Santa Fe Downs and  occassionally at Ruidoso Racetrack and Sunland Park.

Deciding to “Switch Sticks” and follow my other passion, art, I returned to school and earned a degree in Advertising Design and Illustration from the The Art Center College of Design. The next several years were filled with graphic design work for companies including Farnam Industries in Phoenix, AZ and Qwest Dex in Albuquerque, NM.

Then feeling like I really needed to go to the the whip , I returned to school and obtained a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico and began focusing on fine art renderings of horses and their people.

Currently I work on both commissioned and original pieces in my studio in Fort Sumner, NM. I keep striving for that finish line - the piece of art that makes a customer smile and say ,“You’ve brought that one home”.

All Images and content © 2014 Switching Sticks Studio

Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Kathy Craig