Inspiration is one of those elusive, hard-to-define concepts. Ask ten different people what inspires them and you will get ten different answers. Randall Lake sees inspiration as something fleeting that he finds at the symphony, or waking up from a dream, or going through a store. He says, “I see something there, and things just happen if I think about it long enough.”
Randall is a painter and has been for the past 40 years. He got his start when he was 21 and dated a girl in high school that he says, “got me into painting.” He later went on to college and then to study in Paris – and the girl? She went on and got married.
After painting and teaching English at the Sorbonne for four years Randall moved to Utah to study with Alvin Gittins at the University of Utah. By the time he had finished his master’s degree he had three kids and, since the prices were too high to settle in his hometown of Newport Beach, he made Utah his home. In Utah he could afford to buy a house and studio in Salt Lake and a cottage in Spring City for less than it would cost him to live in New York or Paris. When he needs to recharge his batteries, he travels. “I visit friends, go to museums and galleries and smoke my guts out.”
Known for his landscapes, still lifes and portraits, in recent years Randall has looked for new subjects, new techniques and a way not to repeat his past pieces. In 2004 he broke up with his partner and “It destroyed me,” he says, “so much I didn’t paint for literally ten years.” He felt, for a long time, that he didn’t have a reason to go on, but he slowly came back to life. At first, his paintings were angry and then he says they gradually became more digestible to the public and, “now it’s okay.”
Randall feels drawn to the 19th century and that is reflected in his work. He says, “Things were better made, people talked to each other, people read books.” His love of the era influences his choice of subjects. He says he doesn’t paint modern buildings, but instead is drawn to 18th century buildings in Paris, and the Utah State Capitol and the Salt Lake City and County building. He says he once did a cityscape of Coalville and traded it to a judge for a speeding ticket. §
In October, from the 10th to the 12th, Randall is having a show at his studio on 150 E 200 South Suite 314. His earlier work and more recent pieces will be on display.