American Art Collector




By John O’Hern

Rainer Andreesen grew up on Prince Rupert Island, a prosperous fishing community on the northern coast of British Columbia. He began drawing at the age of 5 but his parents urged him “to do other things.” He would lock himself in his room, listen to music and draw. Fifty years later he sequesters himself in his studio, listens to music, enters a meditative state and paints—portraits, primarily, but portraits of friends and an elite clientele including Kathy Bates, J.J. Abrams, Martin Short, Alfred Molina and Jennifer Garner.

High up on the wall of his studio are reproducti­ons of some of the most famous paintings by one of his favorite artists, John Singer Sargent. One is The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. We both waxed poetic about the painting’s compositio­n and Sargent’s ability to express so much with so little. The museum has installed the tall vases that appear in the painting next to it. We marveled at how Sargent captured the vases with very few brushstrok­es—an inspiratio­n for artist and writer alike.

Growing up in Prince Rupert, he was attracted to faces and drawing portraits and still is drawn by the “challenge of

capturing not only the likeness, but also the spirit.” His high school art teachers encouraged him, “teaching me a few techniques but, mostly, I learned on my own.” He also learned from listening to other artists, he says, “There were a few in Prince Rupert.”

At the end of high school, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he confesses. “I had no concept of making a living from other than advertisin­g. I didn’t know graphic design existed. The only designer I knew of in Prince Rupert was a sign painter. I was encouraged by my teachers to research art schools and then attended an intensive art program from Capilano University in Vancouver, British Columbia.” The course was primarily design but he had courses in life drawing and anatomy.

After graduating in 1986 he returned to Prince Rupert and was hired by an advertisin­g agency. He moved later to a design studio in Vancouver where he was encouraged to take on his own clients. “After two years,” he says, “I had enough clients to go it on my own and to hire a few freelance people.”

One of his clients was a fashion photograph­er who asked him if wanted to model for a promotion for Eaton’s, then Canada’s

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 ??  ?? W. 4th Street, oil on linen, 30 x 24"
W. 4th Street, oil on linen, 30 x 24"

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