The following was submitted by the artist:
I was born into the creative Don and Iris Ricks family July 15, 1958 in Rexburg, Idaho. With a professionally accomplished artist as a father and a mother with a beautifully trained soprano voice, I suppose it was more than mere coincidence to eventually find my own creative direction. It didn’t take long for me to discover I also had a creative knack. By first grade, I knew I would be a successful artist someday and quickly began to impress my peers with some early drawings.
My intense art training began at the age of ten years old when my father organized a national outdoor
painting art school, called Painting Vacations. Though very young, I listened intently to the nationally acclaimed instructors give suggestions and constructive criticism to each student. I would also
sit through an entire 2 ½ hour to 3 hour painting demonstration and soak as much in as my young mind could handle. The art instructor influencing me the most was the late charismatic and flamboyant Sergei Bongart. Thousands of Bongart’s former students still pay tribute to him today. Many successful professional artists today claim, or have felt his influence in the art world. In my mind, I still hear Sergei call out in his thick Russian accent, his often quoted, “More impor-tant what you leave out than what put in.” Or hear him say, “More cool-or!” By the age of about Twelve, I would paint along side the other students. Those days were wonderful and rich memories!
In high school, I would often win the laughs of peers with cartoon caricatures of the teachers. Most of the time, the teachers enjoyed it, but sometimes it would get me in a little trouble.
In my high school art classes, I was often first to finish an assignment ahead of the other students.
Sometimes after completing a project, there was time to kill before the bell rang. When my high school art teacher, Mrs. Hamilton assigned a special school mural project to keep me from boredom, I took the project very seriously. Within a few weeks, the project was completed and proudly displayed the school mascot of a bobcat on the main gym wall. For this project, the school administration awarded me a plaque with the engraved words, “Most Outstanding Achievement to Madison High School”. With a recent visit to my old Alma Mater, the bobcat mural is still a prominent feature of the gym to date. I was age sixteen at the time I painted the bobcat mural. This was the beginning of my desire to create more substantial public works.
Dad was often found at his studio easel painting. But before dad went into art full-time he operated a successful sign business for 25 years. At first, the signs supported the art workshops, until they proved to be a substantial enough income. My three brothers and I would often work along side dad, learning the sign trade. Eventually, the four of us could handle many sign projects on our own. In 1980, dad went into fine art full-time and I married my first wife and then took over the sign trade that year. A short time later, I had a young family to feed with paintings in art galleries, while supplementing my income with my sign skills.
With a double background in fine and commercial art, this eventually opened the door to a number of mural projects in other Idaho schools, businesses, the Philo T. Farnsworth Museum and private residences. I kept the sign business going until July of 1997, until I moved to Utah.
As a resident transplant of Utah, I eventually met and married Karen Samuelson, November of 1999. By the year 2001, I was back into fine art full-time, with my first major Utah mural project under my belt---An eighteen foot by one hundred twenty foot mural for Novatek, International in Provo. In the winter of 2008-2009, I will be creating my third mural for this faithful client. It will measure about twenty-five feet by one hundred and fifty feet of a mountain scene in Utah.
Dr. Vernon G. Swanson, director of the noted Springville Museum, first acknowledged my artwork in 2003, with a painting entered in the annual Springville Religion Show. Recently, Dr. Swanson offered me a major One Man Show in the museum. This career milestone is scheduled for September 2009.
In June, 2006, I accomplished another major career milestone---The completion of my largest realistic mural yet, on an indoor wall spanning twenty-five feet by one hundred fifty feet. Painted inside the Provo, Utah based Intelliserv industrial building, this mural caught the media attention of a local film producer, who documented the mural on film throughout the entire development process. The documentary will air in the fall of 2009 on 5 Utah community cable channels (during my one man show at the Springville museum.) and later the following year on KBYU TV.
In the fall of 2006, I created a landscape mural for the Alcoa Engineered Products aluminum plant in
Spanish Fork, UT. Their recently remodeled conference room’s east wall is adorned with an eight foot six inch by thirty foot canvas mural. Alcoa has plant facilities on many continents throughout the world.
Another recent milestone occurred in 2007. I was commissioned by Cabela’s to paint five murals for their store in East Hartford, CT. Producing five large realistic museum quality murals on a tight schedule, within three and one half months, is unusual and the key to my success. The Cabela’s project will be the capstone of the above mentioned documentary. With the Hartford Cabela’s project under my belt, I will be completing several new Cabela’s store murals in 2008.
Currently, I am supplying my art galleries, organizing art workshops, preparing for several one man shows and gearing up for my next public artworks project.