In 2009 Rich Alexander had the good fortune of meeting Illustrator Alan Reingold while Rich was designing the 9/11 firefighter Memorial in Mt. Kisco, NY. Alan encouraged him to attend his portrait classes in Mt. Kisco and at Parsons School of Design in NYC. After working with Alan for two years Rich met fine artist Geoff Barbey who instructed Rich in oil painting at his Dobbs Ferry Studio. Geoff introduced Rich to famed landscape painter John Osborne who taught traditional painting at the Ridgewood Art Institute in Ridgewood NJ and Rich has been painting at the Ridgewood Art Institute ever since.
Rich is a trained Draftsman and owned and operated a Sign Company, hand lettering signs and trucks with lettering enamels. In 1986 Rich became a New York City Fire Fighter. During his 21 year career with the FDNY Rich designed, built and painted dozens of firehouse tables all over New York City, painted murals on firehouse walls and designed many company logos. Most tables have elaborate hand painted murals and are covered in clear epoxy which will last many lifetimes.
Rich describes his transition from working in some of New York City’s busiest fire houses to working in some of the best studios around as “One of the most exciting things I’ve ever done, I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I’m drawn to anything creative, when I was in high school my father and I restored a 1958 corvette. That experience left an indelible impression. Witnessing the transformation of a broken down, dusty old non-functioning classic vehicle to an award winning sports car was awe inspiring.” Rich has renovated houses, designed Granite Memorials, and designed developed and managed production of residential lighting. “I’ve had a good run of creative experiences over the years, oil painting however has captured my heart and changed my life. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m devoted to developing my skills as an oil painter. The parallel between the comradery I experienced in firehouses all over New York City and the comradery I see in the studios is captivating. People helping people.” Rich is drawn to seascapes and landscapes but loves still life work as well.