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Rocky Mountain high and the Wild West

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 8:05 am

Daniel Lindvig’s art comes to Shelbyville

Artist Daniel Lindvig holds two of his pencil drawing prints. One of Tom Seleck and one of an elk.


Few people know how to pursue their talents fully, but Daniel Lindvig is one of those few.

He’s made a life out of his art, which depicts life-like prints of fish, mountain scenery, and Wild West heroes.

His motto is simple: “Do what you’re good at and do what you love to do. If you’re doing what you love, you’re a rich man.”

He has a booth at The Brass Lantern, located on Madison Street, that’s filled with his art along with other outdoorsman trinkets and antiques — a representation of the life he has lived from Florida to Colorado.

But like many artists, Lindvig didn’t always plan on pursuing art full time.

Born in Burlington, Wisconsin, Lindvig was one of five kids. Growing up, he remembers staying in the house his grandfather built around 1917. Then, from the snowy weather of Wisconsin, his family moved to the humid, marshy land of central Florida when he was 10 years old.

But the salty marshlands and coasts near Cape Canaveral is where Lindvig learned to saltwater fish with his brother Mike.

Eventually, Lindvig graduated from high school in 1969 and later joined the U.S. Navy. His older brothers had also served, so it was something he too wanted to do for his country.

“Most of the time I was on the aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal. I was over in the Mediterranean for three cruises,” said Lindvig. “It was ok. I got to see a little of the world I would not have seen.”

He got out in 1974 and then went to college at the University of Central Florida where he majored in journalism, hoping to pursue a career in writing. He made Dean’s List despite also raising three kids.

But life had a different plan. Instead, after graduation, Lindvig took on a job at a Brass Pro Shop in Orlando. It was here he discovered the world of fly fishing.

“I basically learned from the people that I worked with how to fly cast, the different flies and weight rods, and all the details. Eventually I got to where I was a really good fly caster,” said Lindvig, who said he was around 30 years-old at the time.

While working, he got to test out all different fly rods and began teaching fly fishing classes. However, his most memorable lesson was probably the one he did for Tiger Woods.

“I gave him about a 45 minute lesson. He was very attentive, very focused. He is a very intense person. And I found he was totally focused on what I said,” Lindvig recalled. “I find that’s rare with males. Women are some of the best fly casters in the world because they listen.”

Lindvig’s booth at the Brass lantern captures mountain living.

Several years later, Lindvig married his second wife Kathy. On an once-in-a-lifetime trip, they traveled to Alaska.

“And we thought, ‘What are we doing in Florida?’ Florida is ok, but we got tired of the traffic and the bugs you can saddle,” Lindvig joked.

Captivated by the mountains, they decided to up and move to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

But shortly before, his wife Kathy had discovered some of her husband’s artwork, which he had been doing quietly in his free time.

“I never thought about making a living out it. Kathy found some of the stuff I had done and she said, ‘Why don’t you sell this?’

“I said I just like to do it. Pretty much, if you’re an artist, you just like to do it,” Lindvig said. “I like to draw. I’ve always drawn little cartoons and I’m sure it’s something in my genes. My mom was an artist. I just watched her.”

After a short time working at Galyans Trading Company (which later was bought by Dick’s Sporting Goods), Lindvig jumped into being a full-time artist.

With the help of Kathy, who serves as his marketer, Lindvig began selling his prints, which depicted all kinds of fish like rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout — a product of his love of fly fishing — to angler magazines and catalogues as well as to gift shops and card companies.

Lindvig also creates intricate pencil drawings of screen stars like Clint Eastwood, Tom Seleck, and Sam Elliott who play some of the most memorable Wild West heroes in film.

Lindvig was also commissioned by the CEO of Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse and Tavern in Colorado Springs to create western art depicting Josey Wales and Conn Conagher.

“I grew up in a generation that watched the old cowboy shows on TV and the good guys always won. It was pretty black-and-white, and I missed it,” said Lindvig, citing that his favorite Western movie is Tombstone (“I’m Your Huckleberry,” right?).

Together, the Lindvigs lived in the Centennial State for 20 years, eventually settling in Westcliffe, where they opened up two shops: a thrift store and a bizarre called Looks ‘n Books where Lindvig sold some of his art in addition to other local artists’ works and books.

He described Westcliffe as a Mayberry-like town that sits among the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the Wet Mountain Valley. With no commercial restaurants and a laid-back lifestyle, it was an ideal place for Lindvig to further develop his art.

“It’s just trial-and-error. And then I get ideas about things,” said Lindvig.

Lindvig also creates ornaments from naturally shed antlers.

In addition to continuing his pencil work, Lindvig also experimented with naturally shed antlers of Elk and Moose, which he turns into table ornaments. The idea stemmed from his working with a craftsman who built chandeliers from antlers. (Lindvig said he even helped create and build two antler chandeliers for Eric Church).

However, in 2022, Daniel and Kathy Lindvig decided to move across the country once again to a town called Shelbyville, Tennessee.

“We didn’t want to leave Westcliffe,” said Lindvig. “We loved it.” But a heart condition made living in the almost 10,000 foot elevation challenging for the now 72-year-old. Plus, they decided to be closer to their daughter Emily and her family who live in Shelbyville.

“I said Tennessee’s not so bad, and we’d be closer to all our grandkids and great-grandkids. And that’s what brought us here,” said Lindvig.

Though Shelbyville is bigger than Westcliffe and has a bit more traffic, the lower altitude living has opened up a new chapter for Lindvig who hopes to explore Tennessee and its waterways through his art and love of fishing.

You can check out Lindvig’s art The Brass Lantern is located at 1608 Madison St. in Shelbyville.