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Beginnings of an artist



Roberto Lupetti

Awards won as a youth

The Millbrae, California-raised Becker found enjoyment in drawing as a teenager, but it wasn't until college that he realized that art might be a possible career - he just wasn't sure what kind of career. Then, while a student at San Mateo College, he was intrigued by a flyer on the Italian still-life master, Roberto Lupetti. And when Becker happened to see one of the masters paintings in a local gallery window, it became a defining moment in his life. He realized that if he could study under Lupetti and learn to paint in the masters style, it would be something he would do for the rest of his life.

Becker was unable to locate Lupetti until he saw a newspaper article on one of Lupetti's students, which revealed that the master lived within five miles of Becker's home. When a letter drew no response, Becker worked up the courage to call Lupetti (finding his number in the phone book) As a result, Becker was invited to Lupetti's house to show some of his work. When Lupetti saw Becker's paintings, he immediately said that the drawings were incorrect and the perspective was wrong--and then asked when Becker wanted to start studying. For Becker, that's when his life in painting and art really began.

Becker studied under Lupetti for a year-and-a-half, spending months just drawing compositions and learning how to get the shadings and values right before he ever touched a paint brush. By the time he went out on his own, he had created a solid foundation upon which to develop his own unique style.

For the next several years, he sold paintings at local fairs and taught classes. The period was not without its struggles, as Becker, trying to raise four daughters, was forced to take a variety of jobs. He sold hot dogs and sodas at the Oakland Coliseum, caddied golfers and installed hardwood floors. He also did charcoal illustrations and photography for two books of poetry, but did little painting. However, he was inspired during a visit to the San Francisco Opera, where a dramatic theatrical lighting effect revealed how light and shadow could be used to create emotion, and returned to his easel.

Then, in 1986, Becker got the break of his career, when one of his paintings ended up on the cover of Southwest Art magazine. (He actually made his own break, as he initially contacted the magazine to inquire how to get a write-up.) When the magazine came out, Becker realized the potential impact of the opportunity, but far from feeling secure, he questioned whether he'd be able to live up to it. As a result, he rededicated himself to his art (even giving up teaching) and has been able to succeed as both the demand for his work--and it's value--can be called no less then phenomenal.

In the past ten years, Becker has received both critical and popular acclaim. While not one to go after awards, (preferring to measure his success by the popular appeal of his paintings), his work has been featured in Time, Sunstorm, Art & Antiques, Connoisseur, USA Today, Art News, U.S. Art, Advertising Age, and many other publications. His paintings also been featured in dozens of exhibitions throughout the U.S., as well as France, Japan, Sweden and Hong Kong. In 1990, he was commissioned to paint four pieces for Absolut Vodka, as part of a highly visible ad campaign which features a series of original works by important contemporary artists. Today, his works hang in many prestigious private and corporate collections.

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