Rickenbacher, John

Studio: Rickenbacher Studio
Studio Address: 403 S. Lincoln Ste 4 pmb 7, Port Angeles
Phone: 360-452-4262
Email: john@johnrickenbacher.com
Website: johnrickenbacher.com
Media: painting, acrylic

Artist Statement

I am a painter/photographer living and working in the foothills of the rugged environment of the Olympic Peninsula. The energy of the constantly changing sea and the fractured light of the Pacific whipped clouds smashing into the mountains creates an environment unlike any other place on the earth. This raw power and the tenacious spirit of those who choose to live here are my constant inspiration, and seeking to capture it through the bold use of color, heavy texture and unique composition is my passion.

My canvas hanging in your home is your window into the very essence of the Pacific Northwest.


From Pastor to ‘Passion’
John was raised in Ohio, sailing the great lakes as a child. Loving the water as he did, it was not a surprise when he joined the Coast Guard soon out of High School. He was stationed in New York City, and then in Port Angeles, Wa and did a stint in the Bering Sea. He changed careers but stayed on the Olympic Peninsula and near the water. Much of his art is marine based…it has gotten into his bones.

His change of career like the Coast Guard, was focused on helping people. He became one of the most successful youth pastors in Port Angeles for about 25 years. He developed the largest volunteer run youth organization on the Olympic Peninsula. Though he is still a spiritual man, the politics of that career made it impossible for him to stay and keep his heart intact. As he says, “When words become convoluted and confused, art still speaks to the heart.” He stepped away from the pulpit and picked up a hammer and a paint brush. During the day, he built a successful real estate portfolio, one house at a time and at night he began to paint what he could no longer express with verbiage…. That is until, the economy fluxed and real estate plummeted with the changing of the rules. John again having lost everything, he started over one more time, this time as he said, “The clock is ticking and one never knows how much time they have.” So he chose a career to build his heart first and eventually his pocket book.

Art became his full time passion and profession. …. Beginning by surrounding himself with other artists, he painted with knowledgeable people, read every book he could lay his hands on, which were plentiful, and painted nearly every day for years. When his style started to emerge he was “all over the map” his friends told him. They said he needed to find his voice; to find one thing and perfect it. “Choose” they said. He also considered formalized education, but that sounded too slow. The clock was after all, ‘ticking’.

Still, the idea of having to narrow the scope of his paintings made him wonder…..so together, we decided to go to the source. We booked a flight to Europe and studied the Master’s work up close and in person. We also were able to speak to several gallery owners and artists who had been successful in the art business for upwards of 35 to 40 years. They were clear about the direction that John needed to go with his art.

Being the good student that he is, we came home and following the instructions that we got from every expert that we spoke with in 4 countries ….we started into the plentiful Art Festivals. They said to put his art in front of the people. So that is what we have done. His sales have been incredible, especially in urban centers.

Though John is versatile and capable enough to paint any realistic scene he is asked to paint, that is not where his heart is. He sees differently. Through impressionism he somehow captures the feel, the energy of the moment, the people and the time in his unique perspective, using color and texture with abandon. There is whimsy, enough reality to hold your eye, but colored with his sight, humor and tenacity. The man is fearless. Unafraid of failure, John is more interested in the ‘what would happen if….?’ factor than being ‘correct’ or in line with what academia tells him must be done.

And yet, several teachers tell us that after purchasing some of his work, they use his paintings to teach color theory, texturing, layering, perspective, and balance among other aspects of art. It is all so natural to him.

John’s art is not your typical ‘Safe art’ and he doesn’t want it to be. If he ever stops pushing to the edge of the canvas he says, “I am finished as an artist. Painting for me is about the discovery and about connecting with people. My passion is about creativity and communication.”

Gallery Affiliations

Currently at the Rickenbacher Gallery. John has shown in Wineries as well as in Seattle/Bellevue shows all of the way to New York, Las Vegas, California and Arizona and locally.

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