Youngstown artist makes top 30 in Calgary Stampede poster competition

Written by Terri Huxley

Sage Nelson stands proudly with her various artforms including leatherwork, drawing and mohair designs. ECA Review/Submitted

Sage Nelson is a fifth-generation rancher with a knack for all kinds of different western art forms.

The Calgary Stampede announced on March 8 their top 30 poster competitors for the official 2022 poster which Nelson made.

From the prairies south of Youngstown, Alta., Nelson has attributed much of her style to her upbringing and affinity for the western way of life.

“I’ve always been drawn to the western side of things like the heritage and tradition side of things. I love focusing on little details like that and it’s just easier for me to draw that because I have a tie to it and I’m actually inspired to make art around western heritage,” said Nelson.

Being exposed to this side of life has made it easy to embrace her talent by simply walking outside and finding beauty.

This passion came in handy in 2018 as well when she took home third place for her poster submission.

This was the first year the Calgary Stampede stopped hiring commissioned artists in favour of running a youth contest with scholarship money and other opportunities as the reward.

“It’s always been a hobby [for me],” said Nelson.

She mentioned she has always been artistic since she was little, noting taking an art program at her school helped hone her skills as well as more technical classes in post secondary.

Nelson not only draws but has been focusing on leatherwork and custom mohair tack.

When asked what the appeal of drawing was compared to her other projects she said “From the beginning – just like the ease of it and access to materials like all you needed was a pencil and paper whereas leatherwork and mohair along with the majority of materials that you need and also a lot more skill is required to get a finished product whereas a pencil and paper – you can be totally creative and always get something good in the end.”

Now in the top 30, Nelson has the opportunity to dive into what she wishes to draw for the final submission, gathering inspiration as she goes along.

She hasn’t