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April 30, 2018

Remember: A Little Boy’s Near Death Experience
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Russell Ricks experienced a remarkable encounter with the Other Side when he was just eight years old. That experience, along with a remarkable brain condition in the linkage between right and left sides of the brain, may have contributed to his lifelong career as a visual artist. His artwork has been collected throughout the United States, and a large body of his artwork was recently shown at the prestigious Springville Museum of Art, as part of the Passages and Pathways exhibit. His monumental indoor murals grace the walls of some major corporations, such as Cabela's, Novatek, and Alcoa, Inc. Russell served a proselytising mission in the Sacramento, California and Oakland, California Missions from 1977-1979 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and has served in various callings as a lay member of the LDS Church. He is the author of Remember: A Little Boy’s Near Death Experience.
Episode Segments:
NDE Radio: Russell Ricks
Russell Ricks tells the story of his spiritual vision and how that event shaped his life, providing comfort during later challenges. Russell’s fascinating account will remind you that no matter how bleak life seems, our Savior will always be there for us.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Russell Ricks
Russell Ricks knew from a very young age that he would be an artist. As early as eight years old, he proclaimed to anyone who would listen, "My name is Russell Ricks and I'm an Artist!" Growing up in a creative household with six imaginative siblings, a musically gifted mother, and having a father that was a fulltime oil painter and art teacher helped Ricks achieve that dream. All four of the Ricks boys have, at one time or another, pursued oil painting as a career. Although, Ricks’ three sisters don’t paint, they design with fabric, food, and more.

Ricks’ summers were filled with assisting students of his father, Don Ricks, and his Painting Vacations. Ricks would help set up easels and then learn to paint under the tutelage of Sergei Bongart, Milford Zornes, and his father. The workshops were primarily en plein air, instilling in Ricks a lifelong devotion to plein air painting.

Sergei Bongart left a lasting impression on young Ricks, giving him a personal introduction to art by a Russian Master. Ricks is also greatly influenced by Russian artist, Isaac Levitan.

Ricks’ artwork reflects the serenity and historicity of his childhood surroundings of Rexburg, Idaho. Readily available were the subjects of old pioneer farms, river tributaries, Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Teton National Park. Aspen forests, pastorals, and rural living have been recurrent themes in Ricks’ paintings over the years. They were what he became familiar with as a youth—they have become a part of who he is.

Ricks now resides and paints in Payson, a rural community in central Utah. Here he has access to the diverse scenery of the Wasatch Mountains, as well as old historic pioneer homes and churches in the area.

As a young adult, Ricks attended Ricks College, (now BYU-I), where he received an Associates Degree in Art. He received further formal instruction at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

In 2015, Ricks was privileged to have a one-man show at the highly acclaimed Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah. The show, Passages and Pathways, highlighted Ricks’ ability to capture the heart of rural life. In their words, “Russell Ricks invites the viewer to follow along as he evokes memories of places of historical and spiritual significance. He records firsthand the metaphorical and literal pathways that alert us to the timeless beauties of nature as well as spiritual and patriotic icons of small town America.”

Ricks has also been featured in a one-man show at the Covey Center for the Arts located in Provo, Utah, and received Honorable Mention and the Director’s Award in the Spring Salon show at Springville Museum of Art. In 2012, he participated in Celebration of Fine Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona and was featured in the American Art Collector publication. One of Ricks' most iconic images, In Search of Sweeter Grasses, is now in the permanent collection of the Springville Museum of Art.

Along with his fine art pieces, Ricks has produced a number of wall murals in homes and businesses across the U.S. Alcoa, Novatek, and Cabela’s are just a few of the businesses Ricks has done work for. His largest mural to date pictures the Wasatch Mountains of Utah County, Utah. It measures 22 feet high and 200 feet long. Ricks stays true to his painting method and style when doing his murals so the patron essentially acquires a very large fine art painting applied directly to the wall. The size and quality of these magnificent murals skillfully reflect the grandeur of the mountains they depict.

When not in his studio, Ricks loves to be in the mountains hiking, trail riding, camping and gathering material for his next projects. Ricks can be found reading a good book, getting creative with cooking, or watching off-the-wall movies with his wife during his down time.

Amidst a fast-paced world, Ricks’ artwork begs us to slow down, take a breath, and escape—if just for a moment—to a place of serenity and peace. It carries the viewer back to a simpler time, evoking a feeling of coming home.

Russell's Website