Red Umbrella - Rain Bears by RD Riccoboni
It had happened before when my back against the wall, the loss came in with its scarring moments of emotional and physical pain followed by, when I could listen, my inner voice speaking up leading me to my calling.
In 1990 I was a banker, returned home from work, picked up the mail, walked in the house and received a call that good friend had died, the 20th friend in my close circle to pass from AIDS. We were all gone now, the circle of friends was no more. I looked down at the mail and they were all solicitations from various AIDS agencies asking for help. I felt very alone. What can I do? A voice in my head gently said “you can paint.”
During next month, intuitively I focused creating 30 paintings about my friends and the fun we had together. I entered two artworks in a show winning second place and honorable mention. Those 30 paintings became a show and book titled Rainbow Nation.
With art career blooming, my self-esteem was not. I became sidetracked by folks telling me “You'll never make a living as an artist” even though I was! So back to the corporate pathway at health care company in Human Resources after all anything but art, my passion.
First it started with a little tingling in my hands, then very painful. Diagnosed carpal tunnel, prescribed rest, contraptions for my wrists and addictive pain meds. Following doctor's advice, for seven years this
nightmare went on to the point couldn't drive my car. The job was physically killing me, yet I was grateful to have work and afraid to quit.
One day my arms went numb.
Sitting in the medical office, that eternal wait, I prayed for a miracle. The doctor, a glowing wonderful man came in, looked at my hands and he put his hand on my shoulder and said to me, “You're an artist, you can paint, and don’t you want to paint anymore?”
His words took me by surprise, as I had heard many times before but usually softly in my head. Now same voice coming from someone else!
“You’re not going back to this job.” he said thus ending a thankless career and starting many new blessings of my life. I learned of three torn discs in my neck causing this. Recovery included years of physical therapy and no surgery. The Doctor was my angel.
I consistently told myself I am a great artist, I paint, I am happy, loving, healthy and prosperous. I listened for things everyday in life that reflected this affirmation while applying my knowledge to my talent and desires and, as I still do every day, acted upon what was presented to me.
Today you can visit my studio and gallery Beacon Artworks inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park where millions of people visit each year. As one of America's favorite artists share my cultural heritage paintings with the world.
I leave with this advice. Draw the art you want to see, make the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, choreograph the moves you want to dance and take care of yourself so that you can.
You have talent. The thing inside you that says "I want to do something" that is the beginning of talent. Have the courage to explore that.
RD "Randy" Riccoboni
The Power of Art and the Postcard By RD Riccoboni®
During the AIDS crisis of the early 1990's I found myself poured into my painting and the art and myself evolved in many marvelous ways. I found I could use my art as a tool to fundraise for community causes. I started small and eventually things got bigger along the way. I made post cards with my paintings on them and sent them out, gave the away and distributed as many as I could afford to do. One thing I have learned is people are watching. If you chose and wish to, many doors will open for you and others through art. At one of my shows, at a gay rodeo, unknown to me a gentleman who worked as a volunteer in the ticket booth at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he asked me for one of my postcards, I gave him a dozen. Two months later three board members of the museum were in my living room selecting paintings and would soon be represented by the world class museum.
I sent out more postcards to the local press telling them of what was going on at my studio. A director of a major local hospital somehow got one called me to see if I could help his patients with art. Me, I thought? Well Why not. Off I went to Los Angeles County, University of Southern California Medical Center to see what I could do, with this art thing. He shared with me what was going on and how AIDS patients were being completely abandoned, by friends and family out of fear. Some of them were talented artists. Could I help them with an art show of mine and maybe inspire some of the patients and staff to create and put on a show, to get people in the community to come visit? He shared many insights with me and wondered if art could break down the doors of opposition and fear. Sure it could I thought. That's what art does! We started planning. We started inviting persons, everyone we could think of. No one would RSVP. It was frustrating but on we went!
Who would I invite? As many people as I could and then some. I was so enthusiastic about what was going with our show I wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton who was our first lady at the time and proponent of health care. I told her what we were doing, the staff, artists, patients at the hospital and how we were trying to get help, dispel myths, for our friends where dying. No one would even come to visit them! We thought art would be the tool to break the barrier down. We were putting on an art show at the hospital for the patients, by the patients and staff and whoever else was supportive, no matter. Forward we went, not looking back and we were getting lots of heat for it mostly from religious groups in the city, nobody wanted a thing to do with what we were trying to do. If there was anybody who could help it was her. I did not expect any answer back, but I got my message out. Out went my postcard with a little note to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. What ensued in the following weeks was nothing short of a miracle. Mrs. Clinton did indeed receive my card and note and while she was not able to come the Clinton’s who love art, sent the Surgeon General, Dr. Elders, and the National AIDS Czar, Dr. Gebbie to the art show and my art as well as a few of the other artists in the group, well our art went to the White House, used to show the world how art can be used to dispel stigma and bring us together.
The hospital and artists got recognized for their work, people came to see the art, and the patients started being treated as human beings from the community. And
more art exhibits came to be. It’s hard to believe that was not that long ago and how far we’ve come. I am so grateful to Mrs. Clinton. You can see those Letters from the White House displayed today in my gallery, in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. My postcard art mission kept traveling and during this time one made it to England to the desk of an art historian Aubrey Walter.
The British art historian stumbled upon my work via one of my art postcards and contacted me to see if I had more. What ensued was a breakthrough not only for
myself as an artist but for many other gay and lesbian artists who had been unrecognized and excluded from art exhibitions back then. It was a fun and challenging time that eventually lead to a national book signing tour.
Here is what Aubrey Walter wrote about my paintings. “California artist R. D. Riccoboni has captured the hearts and minds of the U.S. West coast gay world by portraying that community in its fight-back against prejudice and despair. His work represents some of the most positive and overtly life affirmative art to have
emerged in the past few years executed with the most brilliant use of color. Above all the art of R.D. Riccoboni symbolizes the vibrant spirit of our gay Rainbow Nation.”
The power of the postcard and a little grass roots action can get things done. I still use them today and the postcard in some ones hand with a bit of art on it is as powerful as ever. The cover of the Book Rainbow Nation
with cowboys dancing at the gay rodeo in San Diego.
To your creative success!
Dear Mr. Riccoboni, I’m an artist who’s entered many art competitions around and sometimes I get in and more often not I don’t get selected. People tell me I quite good, at what I paint too and I believe them. I’m certainly not wealthy and these shows are getting expensive, exhausting and frustrating. I want to be successful like you but there is the plain reality that there just is not enough venues around for an artist like me to be seen and sold. There must be a way to get my art out there, is there something I don’t get about this game… or am I perhaps The Only One Standing in My Way? Bobby T. - Artist
Dear Bobby The Artist!, I can relate! I have certainly felt just like you in the past. You are right it can be frustrating but it doesn’t have too. A lot of the answers you seek are actually hidden in your questions! So First off, Great Question! Let me begin to answer you by writing about what we believe and say to others. If you believe you are standing in your own way you most certainly might just be. Many obstacles may appear to be dead-ends and indeed some are however many can be opportunities for artists growth. First of all I like to you this about getting your art out there and seen and that is, Where there’s a Wall, There’s a Way. There are many places and opportunities to show your work. I have faith that if you start looking at things differently
you’ll begin to see there are venues everywhere for your art including places that may be closer than you think.
Like you when I was looking to get into local galleries no one wanted to exhibit my art, also every competition seemed declined me. Many competitions were ridiculous ego trips and starting to become expensive lines taking up space on my resume. It seemed for the chance to win $500.00 dollars at something that cost me $900.00 dollars to make, the prize of this notoriety was
not worth it. However, like you I was determined and focused on getting my art shown and sold. I asked myself was there a better way to get my art out there and shown? I pondered the idea that one day could I perhaps have my own gallery
or mount my own exhibit? I wanted to offer something classy and affordable too, something that not only I would be proud of but people collecting my art would also like being part of. Perhaps I could even give back to my community somehow. I suggest you ask yourself these same questions.
I investigated the possibilities and did a lot of research which lead to answers for my questions. Perhaps I thought investing in“me” could lead to own gallery and more. By studying other people’s art business models and asking them questions and listening as well as hearing what people were asking for out in the world I soon realized solving other people’s problems with my art could put food on my table and create a little economy for myself and others. What have I learned dear artist? It takes work more than just creating the art itself, and more important. I do what I love and so enjoy life more.
Take charge of your problems they most often hold the answers to your passion and financial success. Sometimes the most irritating and frustrating problems can your biggest freedom. Once I discovered that my beliefs about the art business where mostly beliefs of other folks I had picked up along the way like a sponge absorbing water and not my own personal truth. I too
realized I was the only one that was standing in my way of what I wanted to accomplish.
There is a great need for artists and their inspiration. In order for people to know your work it must be seen and it is up to you get it out there and this takes some creativity. Which means you may have to create your own outlet for your art! I might suggest YOU doing an event– a showing of YOUR art - for your favorite charity in your area in the theme of an art show of your work. Heck you could organize a group show of artist friends and put on a fun exhibit at your home or a friend’s home. This may be more fun and take the pressure of you for doing everything. I have written an article for business on how to have their own show by featuring local talent. I would suggest reading it and applying what I share there to your own individual goals
Should you decide to do this contact the charity, tell them what you are doing and ask them for promotional materials so you can let the world know about them, most organizations will want you to word things a certain and appropriate way when you are letting your audience know about them. Do this correctly and you will be very appreciated. Also see if you can get a local business’s to match the funds you raise. Invite everyone you know, let them know the art is for sale and a portion of the sale benefits the charity Let people know they don’t have to buy anything to come but you’d happily take all donations. What does something like this accomplish? Well giving back with creativity does a lot of good for you and for others and you get to have your art show too! You’ve turned one of your problems into a service and possibly reaped financial success for yourself and for your community as well. If it does well, keep at it don’t stop. People will begin to take notice and you’ll gain respect as a working
I hope that you look for new and innovative ways in getting your art seen and sold because Everyone IS worthy of the good they
To Your creative Success!
RD Riccoboni ®
Although I cannot answer and publish all questions, If you do have questions for me regarding your creativity please email me as I do my best to aswer all emails on a first come first served basis. Direct your emails to email@example.com and write Drawing Outside The Lines in the subject line.
About the author:
RD Riccoboni, Randy to his friends, is an innovative, self-taught artist who began painting at age four when he got into his mothers paint-by-numbers kit. Happy colors are the trademark of this California Artist, who not only boldly paints spectacular landmarks in an exciting impressionistic style, but has also created astounding results in his career.The artist credits encouragement by family and teachers for his drive and inspiration, which has led the way to his success as a best-selling author, speaker and inspirational visionary. In 2007, RD moved his popular Beacon Artworks Gallery into the beautiful Fiesta de
Reyes in Old Town's San Diego State Historic Park.
His Award winning book Book, The Big Picture - The Seven Step Guide For Creative Success In Business," is your creativity workshop guidebook to personal and financial freedom. Allow the expert to take you by the hand and walk you through practical and powerful exercises on each and every page and get REAL business tips too. https://www.createspace.com/3849792
About the author