Rick Rietveld from Newport Beach, California, found inspiration to create art from his mother who was a professional fine artist. She used to participate in their community’s art walks in Los Angeles where she sold her paintings. Rick, who was seven years old at the time, would always go with his mother to the art walks and soon enough he started participating in them as well. “I got hooked pretty early when people started buying my drawings,” says Rick laughing.
After high school, Rick moved from Los Angeles to Newport Beach. “I used to be an inland surfer for a while and we used to go to Ventura looking for waves and sometimes we would make it all the way down to San Diego looking for waves. This is back when gas was a lot cheaper.”
During that time, Rick spent a semester in Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa before he transferred to Art Center College in Pasadena, California. In order to get accepted to this prestigious college, he had to submit a portfolio of his work. He was then accepted and spent a few years there before finally moving back to the coast. “I began freelancing once I was back but had to get a job waiting on tables to pay the bills.”
Rick ended up landing a graphic design job, where he learned a lot. “That was an interesting job, because one day we would be doing bacon package designs and the next day we were working on T-shirt designs for Quicksilver. So it was a great learning period for me.”
His roommate at the time wanted to create a surfer clothing company and wanted Rick to design the artwork. The clothing company ended up launching in 1980 and became an instant success. The company was Maui and Sons. The brand was eventually sold off and in 1995 he started his own clothing company called Rietveld USA that featured his artwork. After ten years, he became burned out with the clothing company so for the past five years he has been a full time artist.
“If I have any advice to give an upcoming artist, it would be to paint and draw as much as you can. Drawing is mileage and to be good you have to work at it, just like professional athletes, some are gifted but the best train hard. You also have to love what you do because if you force yourself to do something, then you will not be successful at it.”