Gary Hawk was born on a farm near Hennessey, Oklahoma, during the years of the Great Depression. His family moved to Iola in 1939. His early years were typical of boys at that time. He spent his youth riding horses, working cattle, running trap lines, and attending the rural schools. His knowledge of his subject matter is drawn form the memories of the past, first-hand experience, and continued association with today’s working ranchers and hunters.
Gary studied art at Kansas State University and the Kansas City Art Institute. He was employed both Hallmark Cards and the American Greeting Card Corporation. He also worked as a designer for IMP Boats. He left the boat business to devote his time to his art career.
In 1977, he was named Governor’s Artist for the State of Kansas by Governor Robert Bennett and in 1988, he was named Kansas Artist of the year and honored private showing of his work in the Kansas Senate Chamber. His paintings have also been on display at Cedar Crest, the governor’s mansion, in Topeka during the term of Governor John Carlin. In 1984, he was invited to the White House for a visit with former President Ronald Reagan.
He has won acclaim for his historical paintings like the series that was done for Old Fort Scott, Ft. Scott. Ks. In 2007, board members from Old Fort Scott selected him to design a one of a kind Christmas ornament for the National Christmas Tree at the White House. The theme that year was Holiday in The National Parks. He was again invited to the White House by then First Lady Laura Bush in recognition for his work on this project.
Gary Hawk’s artwork was featured in a one-man show at the Arch in St. Louis and he has had shows at the American Royal in Kansas City and at Harrad’s of London. In addition, his art has work has graced the covers of magazines and other publications across the country. His art is now located worldwide and included in the private collections many well-known celebrities.
Gary spends part of his time traveling the country as a featured presenter putting on programs and painting demonstrations for various organizations and schools across the country. This outlet gives him the opportunity to shares his skills and his passion for his subject matter with others.