Tracy Stuckey received his BFA in painting from Florida State University and his MFA from the University of New Mexico. He has exhibited his work extensively throughout the United States, with numerous solo and group exhibitions. Moreover, he has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. In 2009, he was an artist-in-residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah. He currently lives with his wife and fellow artist, Erika Osborne, in Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition to being a practicing artist, Tracy is a part-time lecturer at Colorado State University, where he teaches painting and drawing. Today, his work can be seen at the Schmidt Dean Gallery in Philadelphia, PA and the Visions West Contemporary in Denver, CO.
Since graduating from Florida State University in 2002, I went on to graduate school at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I received my MFA in Painting from UNM in 2005, and I lived and worked in Albuquerque for a total of six years. I taught as an adjunct for a short time and worked as an art handler for a small art handling company for three years. In 2008, my wife, who is also an artist, was offered a teaching position at West Virginia University and we moved to Morgantown, West Virginia. I taught as an adjunct and part time lecturer at West Virginia University’s School of Art and Design and at Fairmont State University’s School of Fine Arts. In 2013, my wife and I relocated to Fort Collins, Colorado, where we currently live. I now teach as a part time Instructor at Colorado State University’s Department of Art and Art History.
I have been a dedicated painter since my time at Florida State with a strong studio practice. My work has been shown in various locations and exhibitions around the country. In 2008, I started showing my work at the Schmidt Dean Gallery in Philadelphia where I am still represented today. The gallery has included my work in various group exhibitions as well as two solo exhibitions. In 2009, I was an artist in residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah. In 2013, I began showing my work at Visions West Contemporary in Denver, Colorado, where my work has been exhibited in multiple group exhibitions as well as three solo exhibitions. The gallery continues to represent my work in Colorado, Montana, where they have two additional galleries, and now in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Next February, I will be having a solo exhibition at the Northern Arizona University Art Museum.
I had a great experience at Florida State. I learned all the necessary and fundamental tools that prepared me for a life in art. It was at Florida State that I really learned about modern and contemporary art. My experience there opened my eyes to all the possibilities in art, in particular, painting. I was pushed not only by my painting instructors, but by all the faculty. When I attended FSU, we had full faculty critiques once or twice a year in which all faculty stopped by our studios and spoke with us about our work. These were often very valuable conversations which offered a variety of viewpoints; they helped me to understand why I was a painter and what it meant to be one. They also had an amazing visiting artist program. While I was there, we had three visit us for a couple of years, they were all young and successful artists and they offered a fresh look at art-making.
In a general sense, I learned what art was really all about. I learned that the practice of making art is as important, if not more important, than the work itself. At FSU, I began to learn what it meant to be an artist with studio practice. We were given the necessary skills, freedom, and the space, both physically and mentally, to grow into budding young artists. The faculty there were amazing; they both supported and challenged me along the way, and I would not be where I am today if not for them. My fellow students helped to guide me along the way as well. At the time, all BFA students had studio space in a warehouse building over in Railroad Square. The interactions were very helpful because there was a mix of younger and older students/artists with diverse backgrounds, all working in a variety of mediums and styles in one big building. We would often wander into each other’s space and talk about our work. We also interacted with some of the graduate students, which was very helpful. Ultimately, it was a great community of people and we all learned from each other.
Whenever someone asks me that, I usually give the same answer which is to quote Chuck Close. He says, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work.” From all my time as a student and working artist, I can tell you that the ones who work the hardest are the ones still making art today. Being an artist is hard work; it takes dedication, but being an artist is also amazing. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to continue doing it all these years and I still love it. Not many people really “love” what they do. But that is also tricky, because I think if you don’t really love art and the practice of making it, it is hard to be successful at it. You never really stop being an artist, because your mind is constantly thinking about it. I’m lucky because my wife is an artist, so she understands my obsession with it. Art often dictates the vacations we take, the books we read, the conversations we have, and most of the friends we spend time with. All these aspects of our lives usually end up back into the work that we make.