Painter Richard Stergulz shares a selection of vibrant celebrity portraits and his fascinating journey as an artist. Visit his website to see more of his portfolio.
I knew from day one I was going to be an artist—I came out of the womb with a paintbrush.
Growing up in Illinois, in a very small mining town of 500 people, I immersed myself in Norman Rockwell paintings and drawings. He was the local hero. In fact, my brother, at one point, almost became one of his models. I would have been so jealous, but he cried the whole time and they passed on using him. Shame, I would have bragged about him for a long time.
I drew on everything that was within arm’s reach when I was in grade school, mostly copying Rockwell paintings; I believe that’s why I love figurative work so much.
The character and personalities of the people he painted he captured and conveyed so well. His natural ability fascinated me so much that when I would look into a crowded room, I would wonder what the story of each person was by the look of their face. Some faces are very readable and tell the whole truth with just a glance.
I moved to Chicago after high school to go to the American Academy of Art and studied for three years with some of the best instructors available. After graduating, I went into the commercial art industry where I worked with some of the top advertising agencies as a freelancer producing ads, editorial art, TV storyboard frames, book covers, audio covers and scholastic books for schools across the United States. My rep of eighteen years, Wilkinson Studios, kept me quite busy thankfully.
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I loved Chicago but couldn’t take the snow anymore (in my opinion, a four-letter word). I packed up and moved to Arizona, but discovered there wasn’t much work for me there. I then packed up for sunny California and found where I was supposed to be.
Ah, sunny and warm So-Cal coast, inspiration was everywhere. The people here are so full of character it would take ten lifetimes to paint them all. I hit the ground running and was accepted into a few galleries. Weeding out the commercial work for the fine art feel was a tough transition though; it was a little weird painting for “me” finally. But I took on the challenge and am forever grateful for being aware of what life had been teaching me all along. Be you. Not someone else. A weight lifted and I had new life and passion to create once again.
I co-founded an art school, The Green Art House, in Southern California where we teach painting, drawing and sculpting.
I was on an art TV show called Put Some Colour In Your Life and it changed my art world once again, for the better. I loved the idea of the show so much that I joined the team and host the show now for the entire West Coast. And if that wasn’t enough, we found out all the artists episodes will land on the South pole of the moon in 2023!
When I am not painting, you will find me playing golf in paradise.
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