Local Muralist Robert Riedel
● By Paul Boerger
Making a SceneDecember 2015
Story and photos by Paul Boerger
Twenty-four-year-old Robert Riedel has been creating pictures as long as he can remember, but it was at age 14 when his father gave him permission to take a drawing class at the local junior college that set him on the path to becoming an artist. In addition to landscapes, portraits, still life and impressionism, Riedel has since gone on to paint stunning murals that grace homes, commercial buildings, and in the case of the two-story wall at Handsome John’s Speakeasy (a food, beverage and music venue in Mount Shasta), something big. Really big.
The stunning 16-foot-high, 30-foot-wide mural at Handsome John’s perfectly captures owner John Redmond’s vision for his business. Redmond says working with Riedel was a “dream.”
“I gave him a concept of what I wanted and he worked with me beautifully,” Redmond says. “I looked forward to coming in to see what he had done. I’m incredibly happy with his work.”
Riedel says he always works closely with a client.
“I listen carefully to what the client wants and capture what they envision,” Riedel says. “John’s mural includes the Detroit skyline, boxer Joe Louis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, the Blues Brothers and many other jazz and blues themes.”
Riedel took a unique path to become an artist.
“I had been painting and drawing since I was a little kid,” Riedel says. “When I was 14, my father gave me permission to take a figure drawing class at the junior college. I felt really grown up. My dad had me ride the bus to school. It boosted my self esteem. I received respect from my father and I aced the class.”
The figure drawing class, of course, included nude models.
“My friends my age were pretty immature about it,” Riedel says.
Riedel was the youngest kid at the school and his friends teased him, but he was not deterred.
“One of my drawings made it into the art show and it won. It was another boost,” Riedel says.
Riedel’s artistic road has taken him to Guatemala, where he worked for three months painting murals at a hotel for room and board, to a mural in a friend’s bedroom and to College of the Siskiyous in Weed where he painted backdrops for theatrical productions.
Riedel’s talent speaks for itself and he is gracious in giving credit for his success.
“My mom has always supported my art and my wife is my inspiration,” Riedel says.
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