Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Nicholas S. Firfires (1917-1990)
Nicholas S. Firfires was born on the Waunakee Ranch near Santa Barbara, California in 1917 and died in 1990. Firfires was a descendant of the California vaqueros depicted by James Walker in the 1870's, living on the big ranches back of Santa Barbara in San Luis Obispo County. He worked with horses until he was 24, alongside the old vaqueros, then attended the Art Center School and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. During World War II, he served with the Army Engineers as an artist. In 1945, Firfires turned to illustrations for Western magazines, and beginning in 1957 devoted himself to easel paintings. In 1969, Firfires won the silver medal at the Cowboy Hall of Fame exhibition. In 1970, he married the daughter of the cowboy actor, Buck Jones whose comic strip Firfires drew in the 1950's. Firfires' studio had a mirror at his back while he painted because the use of the mirror was the quickest way for him to locate any compositional defect.
View high resolution images of works by Nicholas S. Firfires when available.