COOS BAY — Graham Wickham was born into a world surrounded by artists. There were visual and commercial artists, art lovers, motion film, television and theater actors. All of them creative, their influences strong. His best friend's mother, from Berlin, was personal friends with Galke Scheyer of Die Blaue Reiter fame. His former mother-in-law was an amateur painter, also from Berlin, who studied with Arthur Segal, a German expressionist, who exhibited with Die Blaue Reiter and Die Brucke. His lineage of familial accomplishments include an Academy Award winning art director, Edward Haworth, a professional photographer and film actor Joseph Haworth.
What art training Wickham received was as a young man from a brother who taught him drawing basics. As a teen, his brother was accepted at the Art Center School, now the Art Center School of Design, later achieving some success in commercial art working in magazine illustrations and LP cover design.
Living in Los Angeles, Wickham immersed into the arts — the LA County Art Museum, the Norton Simon Museum and the expansive art and culture in the area. Wickham said, "It was a rare and rewarding environment to grow up in with its wealth of culture."
"My creative endeavors, however, took me into writing, an English major, and performing music. Only recently have I gotten back into visual art," said Wickham.
Referring to his lessons as a teen, nearly 40 years ago, he said, "I was able to almost pick up where I had left off with my drawing lessons, almost as if it were yesterday."
For the past three years he's been combining lessons and exercises from a number of sources, an intense study of and absorption in modernist American art where his interests lie.
Wickham said, "I enjoy working in all water media including acrylic. I love to mix all of these, as well as drawing media, especially charcoal. I do a little oil.
"My direction is toward the deeply inspiring natural world around me, a world that can endure entirely without mankind's existence and certainly, at this time in history, would be better off if that were the case. It is inspiring to concentrate on such a huge and complex force and a world that just doesn't need us and our careless bravado."
Wickham can be found Wednesdays at the Artist Loft Gallery where he can be seen working on an art project or simply doing what the current president of the Artist Loft Gallery might do. His art opening reception will be 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at Black Market Gourmet, 495 Central Ave. in downtown Coos Bay.