Portrait of a Local Artist

Charles Horsman

Chuck Horsman Greenwood Artist
Writer / Alaina Sullivan – Photographer / Forrest Mellott
art uncorked 2016 bargersville water tower
This 2016 Art Uncorked winning painting is featured on a special edition Mallow Run Winery label. Click image to view a larger version.

Art has provided more than just a source of income for this year’s Art Uncorked winner. For Charles Horsman, art is a way of life. Horsman said the experience of being chosen as the artist selected for Art Uncorked has been amazing.

“I have wanted to submit a painting for the past two years for Art Uncorked. This year, I started working on a piece as soon as I saw the notification,” he said. “Once I finished, I decided not to enter it, but my wife convinced me to submit it.” Not expecting to hear back following his submission, he said he was blown away when he got the phone call saying he had been chosen.

Horsman is a native of the southside. He graduated from Roncalli High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Fine Arts with a Minor in Commercial Design in 1988 from the University of Indianapolis.

Horsman and his wife, Heidi, live in the Center Grove area and have two children: Ben, a junior at Hanover College, and Darby, an eighth-grader at Center Grove Middle School North.

charles horsman artist paintings
Horsman has a number of “celebrity” paintings including these three: Peyton Manning, Mark Twain, Steve Jobs.


Horsman has been a graphic designer since 1989. He has worked with magazine companies, service bureaus and marketing companies, serving as an art director for a national marketing company. In February 2002, he decided to make the leap and began working for himself by starting Chuck Horsman Designs.

Horsman creates new logos, puts together an entire full branding campaign for a company and designs annual reports, brochures, flyers, business cards and letterhead. He has also begun working with digital design projects, such as Mobile App Icons, Web Sliders and eNewsletters.

“Digging into the personality of a company and presenting them graphically with a goal of growing their business is very exciting and gratifying,” he said. “It is amazing how a company can change and grow through this process, and I love being a part of it.”

On their site, Chuck Horsman Design states they are problem-solvers, working to help companies achieve their goals and raise awareness of their brand.

“[We’re] identifying the challenge and working out a best marketing/design solution to get the job done,” said Horsman. “It is great when clients tell you how the efforts paid off and especially great when they refer others to me.”


horsman andwife heidi
Charles Horsman, and his wife Heidi, with the original painting at the Art Uncorked unveiling at National Bank of Indianapolis, September 8, 2016

Graphic design may be the focus of his company, but his passion truly lies in art. This passion was reignited only just recently. “

It took off from there. He had his first show in April 2016 at the Stutz Artist Open House, and he will also be a part of their Holiday Show this December. The Stutz Artists Association is a nonprofit organization of artists working in the historic Stutz Building in downtown Indianapolis. The organization’s mission is to engage the central Indiana community through opportunities that support local art and artists like Horsman.

He said he takes these shows as opportunities to show off his work but also as chances to grow and develop more as an artist. “The April show was eye opening, and I received a lot of great comments,” said Horsman. “It also showed me where my weaknesses are and where I need to grow.”

He is included as a featured artist on the Stutz Artists Association’s website. His pieces titled “Nevermind,” a portrait of late Nirvana band leader Kurt Cobain, and “Imagine,” a portrait of the late John Lennon, are featured on the site.

Charles Horsman Mallow Run Winery
Horsman signs a bottle of Mallow Run Wine

Horsman’s paintings are primarily oil on canvas by both brushwork and pallet knife. He uses images of people, famous and not, and uses elements of their life to evoke moods in the painting.

“I start with a sketch and add color blocks,” he said. “Next I use brushes to add color and detail. Then once I am happy with the look, I use my palette knives to loosen up and to somewhat abstract the portrait. I rea

He said he calls this his graffiti look. Specifically, when painting portraits of celebrities, he chooses faces that are interesting to paint or subjects that interest him. “I had just finished a portrait of my sister and wanted to get a bit looser, so I started working on two portraits at once, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain,” said Horsman. “Both were key agents of change in the music of their times, and both have really great faces to paint. I think knowing the tragic end to both of their lives adds an element of melancholy to the paintings, and I think the texture and brush work add details that I still go back and look at.”

The Kurt Cobain painting probably gets the most attention when he shows it, said Horsman.

kurt-cobaincharleshorsmanHORSMAN – CONTINUING THE CRAFT

It may not happen every day, but Horsman said it is his goal to try to paint daily, saying it is the only way he will improve his craft. “Like everything else, you get better at painting by painting, and the longer I’m away from it, the more I have to relearn,” said Horsman.

While Horsman continues to learn, his career has certainly reached a peak, being awarded the Art Uncorked honor this year. Congratulations, Charles!