NORMAN — Rick Fry is a local artist who has, like most other people around 60, transitioned his life to the place he is occupying today.
Rick’s art studio initially was set up in his garage. He painted mostly Oklahoma landscapes. As we talked, he reminisced about his work in graphite and water colors. He always had other jobs to bring home cash, but his passion was in his craft. Part of a painter’s life is the art fair circuit, and Rick has had that experience from the Oklahoma City Arts Festival to galleries in Arizona and Santa Fe, N.M.
Rick’s journey began in Shawnee 63 years ago. His interest in art began in elementary school, where he got in trouble for drawing instead of paying attention to his teachers. In junior high, he concentrated on the sketches of what were important to a lot of boys his age — the work of Big Daddy Roth, hotrods and Ratfink.
Rick’s art teacher at Del City High School sparked his interest in experimenting with various media. Rick attempted OU’s art school. In the 60s and 70s it was a place for abstractors only, realism artists were shown the door. His interest was in nature and landscape work, so he walked out the door they showed him, never looking back, continuing on his quest to unearth and paint the perfect landscape.
So how does this fit into the theme of aging in Norman? The theme is set by what influence aging has had with respect to daily lives. After our interview, I heard that Rick had sold all his artist supplies to a late blooming painter in the same age bracket. Rick failed to mention this in our initial interview and I was surprised to hear it. The interview evolved around how his relationship to being a painter changed his focus in his art as he has matured. I saw him parting with his art supplies as an extremely important life-changing action that received no merit in the first conversation. When we resumed the conversation, he confessed that he had bought it all back ready to recommence his continuum. Point in hand; how do we start over as our lives mature, change our focuses and retool for richer experiences in a new perspective?