Drawing on his talent
Gravestone creator helps personalize headstones
Art teacher, youth minister, painter, saddle maker. David Wright has been all of these things and more. He has a long list of hobbies and interests. Now he has carved out a new niche and can add gravestone creator to the list.
Wright is an experienced engraver who has translated his passion for drawing into custom-made gravestones.
Located on 21811 Road S. in Arriola, Blackhorse Stone sprang out of Wright’s home. He also sells western paintings and trains horses.
“I named it Blackhorse Stone because my horse is my junior partner,” he said with a laugh.
He definitely believes in keeping life light and memorable. His newfound service has allowed him to extend his good vibes to people in hard times. Wright has been in the headstone business for a month and has had five customers so far.
“I can customize these gravestones to make them look more natural,” Wright said. “These catalogues of pictures that people can choose to put on headstones seem stiff. They’re made by computers and to me that’s not very personal.”
Wright was born and raised a country boy in the Midwest. He described himself as old-fashioned and hard working. He knows a thing or two about horses. A thing or two about art. A thing or two about making saddles. He even built the addition to his barn that serves as his office and work space.
He can be considered a jack-of-all trades.
He started at Cortez’s Wilson Monument Company in the winter of 2011 as an engraver. There Wright helped families choose the best images for remembering and memorializing loved ones.
“I know what a horse should like look when it’s drawn,” Wright said. “These computers that do most of the engraving aren’t accurate for some people.”
Wright would place the orders for patrons and if they were unsatisfied with the graphics, he would alter the picture to their satisfaction. Customers were pleasantly surprised. And so was Wright. He was glad to help.
This spring he decided he wanted to continue pursuing headstone work on his own. He found that his love of western life and work dedication, paid off in a new line of work as well. So he has added another notch on his jack-of-all-trades belt.
Wright has lived in Cortez since 1975. He knows the area, the people and their way of life.
“I cater to what people around here would like,” Wright said. “Cowboys, Indian art, Navajo culture — it’s all familiar to me.”
Wright recalled working with a Navajo woman recently who chose a picture for Wright to recreate for a headstone. The picture was of a Navajo woman sitting and weaving. Next to her, a donkey stood idly by. The woman explained to Wright that she loved the picture. It fit her family. But they raised horses, not donkeys.
So, Wright replaced the donkey with a horse.
“She loved the end product,” he said. “She wasn’t sure I could change it so she was very grateful when I told her it wouldn’t be a problem.”
Wright has been drawing for more than 15 years. He draws each and every picture out before he engraves it, changing the dimensions as needed.
He has the basic stones used for graves at the moment. Because his business is located out of town, there is not a city sales tax.
Even though Wright has practiced engraving before, he only recently applied it as a business.
“If you can draw, you’re going to do something to show that,” he said. “I can do a lot of things, this is just one of them that I enjoy.”
Wright lives on Road S with his wife and their four horses. He can also do other stone carvings such as driveway markers and various decorations. He can be contacted at 882-7266 or anyone interested in his work can drop by his home and office at 21811 Road S in Arriola between 1 and 5 p.m.
Sam Green/Cortez Journal