Robert Wikstrom

Born Ketchikan, AK Feb. 6, 1922
Died Seattle, WA Jan.17, 2003

Mixed Medium 24X36

A naturally gifted artist, Robert was born and raised in Ketchikan, AK, the youngest of three children. He was impressed by the formline stylizations in the art of the Native people of the Northwest Coast and this is evident in several key paintings in the exhibition.

Robert served in WWII as an infantry soldier stationed in the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea and later spent a long enlistment in the Army Reserve at Fort Lawton in Seattle. He made the most of his GI Bill by studying in three of the most prominent art schools of the time. At Art Center, Jepson and Chouinard Schools, all in Southern CA, he learned the skills to realize his dream of a career in art. His instructors included Rico Lebrun and watercolorist Rex Brandt.

He accepted a position with an advertising agency in Spokane where he met and married Dorothy Vollmer with whom he would share the rest of his life. They moved to Seattle in 1952 and settled in Magnolia where they raised their five sons William, Brom, Rodger, Chris and Eric. He passed on his enthusiasm for art and life to each one of them.

Robert created memorable images for many Northwest businesses including an extended employment as art director and illustrator at Boeing.

He won First Place in an international art competition for Golden Books with his painting E is for Elephant.

For all his work in the commercial field Robert’s fine art was created for his own interest. A distinctive approach to the human form and a unique application of water-based medium reveal a sensitive and adventurous nature. With his retirement from the art directorship of a large packaging firm he and Dorothy lived for some years in Chelan, WA. There he devoted his considerable energy to painting all the pictures he never had time to do before, and then promptly gave most of them away to family and friends.

During this time and up until his death he delighted in fashioning whimsical and ingenious carvings in wood. Mostly animals, they are much like the man, playful yet serious with hidden compartments in some of them.

The Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters was a passion in his life. Robert was past President and member for over 50 years and starred in many of the group's burlesque plays at their annual banquet / auction.

His work has been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, and he had a one man show at the Spokane Press Club. A commissioned mural is in the hospital in Ketchikan, Alaska.