Monte was born in Missoula, MT in 1970 and grew up on the highline of Montana in "Charlie Russell Country." There is no doubt that Charlie Russell influenced Monte at a young age. Growing up in rural Montana, there were no lack of inspirations for someone interested in art. The gorgeous state with its big skies, wildlife, and cowboys and Indians. The cowboys and Indians are what really intrigued Monte. Every since he could remember he wanted to be a cowboy and ranch. Monte remembers the brandings and roundups on his Great Grandpa Harwood's ranch on the Two Medicine River on the Blackfeet Reservation. He remembers the pow-wows in Browning and St. Ignatius. He can remember the cowboys roping and working cattle on his Uncle Bob's ranch on Willow Rounds. And there was his uncle Jay, who would come home to brand and cut wild horses and cattle. Jay was one of the best PRCA rodeo announcers and was a hero to Monte for as long as he can remeber. During college, Jay encouraged Monte to paint and rodeo. He also introduced Monte to "Southwest Art" magazine and some of the works of premier western artists. Monte's Grandma Rita always told him "you were born to be a cowboy." She was also one of the first to give him drawing books and pencil and paper for every birthday or Christmas gift. Monte's mother gave him his first oil paints and brushes when he was only eight years old.
I heard Red Steagall in concert say "each of us has a story to tell, the beginning and the end are the same, it's the middle that is different." I tell my story through my artwork. I paint what I know. I'm passionate about the cowboy lifestyle and agriculture in America. I'm trying to create artwork that is pleasing to the eye and makes someone feel something. If they can smell the smoke or feel the cold then I did my job. I want someone to think "that is how it is" when they see a painting of mine. I would call my painting style or approach "painterly." Living in Southeast Wyoming and having my own cattle and horses gives me plenty of material to put to canvas. Monte Stokes