Osage Native American John D. Free was raised by his grandfather on a ranch outside of McAlester, OK. That is where he developed his love of horses, cowboys, & God. As a small child, John would melt his crayons on the sidewalk and sculpt them into horses. His grandfather encouraged him and taught him the importance of honesty, virtue, discipline, hard work, family, and Jesus Christ. John drew from all that as an artist, husband, father, grand and great grandfather. Many of those elements were depicted in his artwork though out his career.
In his early 20s he served his country in the military and spent a short time in Japan. Upon returning he met and married the love of his life Rayma June Bivins. They were happily married for 58 years and raised three sons, John, Matt, & Mark. John & Rayma lived on a small ranch north of Pawhuska where he cared for his horses and longhorns.
John began his art career in 1960 and trained under Thomas Lewis in Taos, New Mexico. He and his family spent many summers there while he shaped his craft.
He was a lifetime member of the National Academy of Western Art (NAWA), The Prix De West, and Cowboy Artist of America.
He received silver metals from NAWA for his bronzes :"Osage Horse Catcher," and "Race of the Wild Ones.": In 1978-82 he was commissioned to create a limited edition series of 5 bronzes for the National Cattlemen's Association. He was one of the few artists that had the distinction of having a one man show at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame during his lifetime. His renowned art career still resonates in Western Heritage today.
His "Wrangler" sculpture was used as the award given each year for the six categories of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's Western Heritage Awards. Ben Johnson was one of the recipients of the prestigious awards in 1976. There were over 775 of his "Wrangler" sculptures given out as awards.
In 1982 he opened the Bronze Horse Fine Arts Foundry in Osage county, four miles south of Pawhuska.
BJCM showcases many of John D. Free's paintings and bronze sculptures including:
"The Land Seekers" - Bronze
"Flag Bearer" - Bronze
"The Longhorn Hunter" - Bronze
"Team Work" - Original Oil
"Taos Pueblos" - Original Oil
and MANY MORE