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About Me

Rich Wilkie


I breathe deep and exhale slowly. I imagine the emotions of the subject in the photo. I imagine their story. I feel their feelings. I laugh. I love. I cry. I scrub my brush across the chipboard until the emotion coats the surface. I laugh. I love. I cry.


I have my mother to thank for enrolling me in Park and Recreation art classes at age 8, where I developed my love for Art and the tingling sensation turpentine causes on my skin. 

In grade school, I spent much of my class time drawing in my text books, turning them into flip books of kung fu fights and motor cycles popping wheelies, riding into walls and exploding. After my teacher saw my fine work, I got to practice erasing.   

In high school, I caused a row by submitting a series of drawings to the student art show, a nude woman breaking out of an egg, and I learned the price of free speech.   

In college… well, I dropped out of college. My teachers convinced me, all I needed was to express myself and that I should not corrupt my mind with a formal education. I spent several years in the grocery industry shoveling maggots, fighting off hordes of rats and shoplifters.   

But my muse kept calling me back. I returned to college… I dropped out… went back and dropped out again. I ended up spending a year in the desert painting abstracts and battling scorpions in the dry heat. I eventually gave this up in favor of eating.   

In the early 90’s, I managed an Art Co-Op, Gallery 57 in Fullerton. Again, I return to school, but this time I focused on refining my skills as opposed to pursuing a degree. I struggled to combine my career with my passion. For six months, I took 49 hours a week of life drawing classes.   

 I took a job at Disney Feature Animation as an assistant animator. In the first two months, I learned more about art than in all of my previous years of “study”. A paycheck is a great incentive. At Disney, I animated on Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. Some of the shows I have worked on since leaving the Mouse House include, Stuart Little, Dragon Tales, Spider-Man, Maya and Miguel, Bratz, Scooby-Doo, and King of the Hill. I stuck with animation for 25 years. My last animation gig was as Supervising Director for Netflix on Bill Burr’s animated show “F is for Family”. 

Now, I paint portraits, I paint emotions, I paint actions, I paint moments in peoples lives, I will paint this for you.   

Rich Wilkie

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