John Patrick 'Rico' Eastman

Dec 31, 2012
John Patrick "Rico" Eastman

Santa Fe, N.M. — John Patrick “Rico” Eastman, 60, died at Christus St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M., on Dec. 21, 2012.

He was born on Aug. 22, 1952, in Atlanta, the eldest son of John Hume Eastman and Patricia Robinson Eastman. Rico’s father predeceased him. Rico is survived by his mother, Patricia Eastman Roe and stepfather Donald Roe; his brother Michael Eastman and his two children, Meagan and Nikki; his brother David Eastman, David's wife Kathy and their three children, Jennifer, Kyle and Stephanie; and his stepsisters Barbara Anne Wolf and Mary Keith McDonald.

In 1974, Rico obtained his bachelor of fine arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence and his master of fine arts in 1985 from Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

After graduating from RISD, Rico moved to Maine with several RISD graduates and settled at The Foundry in West Rockport. In l978, he began working at Moss Tent Works in Camden, hired for his design and metal-working skills.

At Moss Tent Works, he developed countless innovative ideas with Bill Moss and the Moss Design group for architectural canopies, installed all over the country. With two designs, the large Omar Tent and the Optimum Tent, he travelled to Kuwait with Bill Moss, delivered and installed these tents for the Prince of Abu Dhabi. In 1981, Rico left Moss Inc. to pursue his master of fine arts degree at Arizona State University. Shortly before his death, he contributed to a book entitled "Bill Moss: Fabric Artist and Designer," by Marilyn Moss, expected to be released late spring 2013.

In the late ‘80s, Rico purchased an abandoned building in Leadville, Colo., where he remodeled the building into a residence and sculpture studio. During his time there, he exhibited and held workshops in Minturn, Colo. He eventually sold this property and moved to Santa Fe where he purchased land, and designed and constructed his residence, sculpture studio and gallery. It was here that he established himself among the ranks of the great steel sculptors of this century, propelled by the prestigious Riva Yares Gallery, and developed strong working relationships with colleges and universities throughout the United States. His large-scale steel sculptures were both lyrical and powerful.

One of the Riva Yares Gallery’s brochures proclaimed, “Rico Eastman has proven himself to be a technological wizard of geocon steel construction. His mastery of the Marshall press, the English wheel and pneumatic press has further established his reputation among metalists everywhere. Eastman creates sculpture that exhibits technological perfection seldom seen in any medium, let alone steel. His sophisticated sculpture, especially his fabrications with compound and complex patterns of curves have attracted critical acclaim on an international scale over the past decade. Every Rico Eastman sculpture testifies to his genius in forming, shaping and defining space and metal in the most sublime and yet subtle manner imaginable.”


2010 - Professional Member, International Sculpture Center, ISC, Hamilton, NJ

2008-10 - Associate Member, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

2006 - Acting Head, Sculpture Program, Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton, Calif.

2005 - Visiting Artist, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle

2001 - Acting Head, Metalsmithing, Cranbrook Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

2000 - Visiting Artist, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, N.M.

1999 - Visiting Artist, The Deep Creek School, Telluride, Colo.

1998 - Visiting Artist, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Mich.

1996 - Demonstrator, International Sculpture Conference, Providence.

One of his notable works was installed at Chicago’s Navy Pier from 1997-2002. As a result, he was invited for a solo exhibition on the city's Hancock Plaza.

His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and he has been a visiting artist at many colleges, universities and art centers across the United States. Rico’s work is held in several national and international private and public collections including the Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque, N.M.; Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.; California State University, Fullerton, Calif.; College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C.; Garrett Ltd., Waterford, Ireland; Grinell College, Grinell, Iowa; Hyatt International, Beaver Creek, Colo.; Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Mich.; The State of New Mexico; University of Texas, El Paso, Texas; Waly Corporation, Hong Kong, China; and Western State College, Gunnison, Colo.. Other exhibits and installations include Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, Colo.; DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Mass.; the Mitchell Museum and Cedarhurst Sculpture, Mt Vernon, Ill.; the City of Northlake, Ill.; The Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, N.M.: and the Nelson Fine Arts Center, Tempe, Ariz. Rico received many awards for his sculpture over the years.

In addition to his art, Rico was an accomplished musician, performing in several bands in Maine including The All Hollow Band, The Chuck Kruger Band and The Seafood Lovers, to name a few. His unique style of complex guitar riffs, backing vocals and show-stopping humor were always a hit. Rico had many friends all over the world, touching many people with his intense intelligence, his uniqueness, his talent, his humor and wit, and with his unrelenting compassion. He cared for his friends as deeply as each friend cared for him.

A celebration of Rico's life will take place Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 2 p.m., at Yares Art Projects Gallery, 123 Grand Ave., Santa Fe, N.M. An additional celebration of his life will take place in Maine — time and place to be determined.

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