Steamboat artist returns to local art scene with retrospective exhibit |

Steamboat artist returns to local art scene with retrospective exhibit

Longtime Steamboat Springs artist Robert Dieckhoff is back from retirement with a new show opening at Harwigs during First Friday Artwalk. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Longtime artist Robert Dieckhoff’s career started in the ’60s as a way to pay for surfboards.

He painted signs for Gordon and Smith Surfboards in trade, then later, fine art led him to a destiny of his own device.

Dieckhoff created an unmistakable style using “peripheral compression” that captures scenes through a large-scale image that surrounds the viewer on all sides.

If you go

What: First Friday Artwalk with artist Robert Dieckhoff
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5
Where: Harwigs/L’Apogee, 911 Lincoln Ave.

This month, Dieckhoff returns to the local art scene after 10 years of retirement with a new First Friday Artwalk exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. at Harwigs. The show offers a retrospective of his work over the past 52 years.

The exhibition will encompass the evolution of his work with pieces like the “Blue Boat,” which he created in high school, to his most recent work, “Robert’s Draw.”

“My paintings are inspired by observation and the need to spread a little joy in the world,” said Dieckhoff, who moved to Steamboat in 1991. “It’s more important to paint what you feel rather than what you see.”

Son of an artist, professional illustrator and nationally and internationally renowned artist, Dieckhoff has shown his work at galleries ranging from the White House to Hawaii. He’s also the founding president of the Steamboat Art Museum, chair of the Public Art Board and an International Art Board curator.

Dieckhoff describes his work as surrealistic with an emphasis on design over reality. His iconic images have been influenced by Japanese masters at the Ukiyo-e School, where he studied in the 1960s.

One of longtime Steamboat artist Robert Dieckhoff’s well known pieces. (Courtesy photo)

He explained that through his work he’s discovered that the spacial relationship is how one space, created by shapes, relates to another by size, shape, color, density and position.

“Mathematics is the numerical definition of the physical world,” he said. “It defines shapes — geometry — and their relationships — ratios.”

While many will recognize his oil, acrylic and vivid pastel paintings, he’s stepping into new territory with digital work after a period of introspection and time spent catching waves surfing in Baja since he retired 10 years ago to care for a family member.

He became inspired through this medium around the time Apple released the iPad Pro.

A painting by Robert Dieckhoff. (Courtesy photo)

“I was totally intrigued by the opportunity digital art presented,” Dieckhoff said.

He bought the iPad, a few apps, and after hundreds of layers and infinite “un-do’s,” he came up with a piece ready to share with the world, “Robert’s Draw,” named after the location in the Rattlesnake Mountains of Wyoming where he observed the total solar eclipse last year, which inspired the piece.

What’s next for the renowned artist?

He’s planning another show, but for now, he’s working on developing enough new digital works to warrant an exhibition.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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