The Artistic Genius of Rick Rush
October 14, 2012
It all began so early for Rick Rush. He can remember sitting on the front porch of his home in Chickasaw, Alabama, drawing pictures of scenes as they all passed by him. Cars. Horses. Trees. Birds hanging on a bottom limb. Butterflies lighting up his yard in color. A dog wandering up the dirt path. A neighbor shuffling down the street. This was the world he saw. These were the images he placed on paper. Some he liked. Some he didn’t. Some he threw away.Rick Rush was five years old.
It was only the beginning. As the years passed, art continued to be his passion, but his interest turned to sports. Living in Alabama, where the Iron Bowl college football clash between Alabama’s Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers became the stuff of myth and legend, Rick Rush found himself him caught in a proverbial whirlwind of big-time athletic competition.
He could not escape the power of the moment. Throughout the state, each breath, each conversation, each thought focused solely on the game. Year around, it was football. Nothing but football. Throw out the wins. Throw out the losses. Throw out the records. When Alabama squared up against Auburn, the game transcended sport. It became life. It became his life.
As Rush progressed as an artist, he began to understand that those who operated within the creative realm of art and literature stayed true to themselves, their knowledge, and their experiences.
He said, “I have found that artists and writers tend to do things that are close to them. Hemingway wrote about war, fishing, and bullfights. Faulkner wrote about the nuances of the South and its people. I decided to concentrate on sports. I had played the game. I had experienced the anxiety, the excitement, the pain, the wins, the losses, the bitterness of defeat, and the overwhelming thrill of victory. It was part of me. Becoming a sports artist was a culmination of two things I had done all of my life.”
Rick Rush no longer plays the game. But his art captures the essence of the game. His paintings portray the American sports scene at its best, holding on to unforgettable moments that are suspended in time and space, memories on canvas, split seconds that spell the difference between a win or a loss.
In sport, the moment comes suddenly and leaves just as quickly.
In the art of Rick Rush, it lives on forever.