November 3, 2012 in Washington Voices

Art brings him back to center

Art of all types brings life into balance, accountant-business owner Frickle says
Jennifer Larue
 
PHOTOS BY DAN PELLE photo

Dan Frickle has built a train station out of cardboard boxes. He lives in Otis Orchards.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Art quote of the week

“Making a living and having a life are not the same thing. Making a living and making a life that’s worthwhile are not the same thing. Living the good life and living a good life are not the same thing. A job title doesn’t even come close to answering the question, ‘What do you do?’ ”

Robert Fulghum

It seems that Dan Frickle has found the answer – or, at least, his answer – to the age-old question “What is life?”

His answer is simple – balance. “It suddenly became clear to me that the talents God gave me from birth were what kept me balanced in my career,” he said. “No wonder I found myself constantly engaged in some kind of art project.”

Frickle began his balancing act in the seventh grade when he uncapped the jars of paint intended for use on models and put it to canvas in the form of a landscape. That Christmas, he got a set of oil paints and went to town, creating more landscapes that he displayed in a library in Montana. From then on, he painted, and gifted others with his creations.

Before even graduating from high school, Frickle dismissed art as a profession and decided on the analytical field of accounting. He earned a degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Walla Walla University.

Frickle is a much better accountant, he believes, because of his artistic expressions. Rather than losing himself in numbers, he loses himself in the places he creates with colored pencils, oil or acrylic paint, while at the same time finding himself. “I am a CPA and I own a retail kitchen store but my art defines me,” he said, “It gives me purpose.”

Frickle has been an accountant in the Spokane area since 1978, and owns The Kitchen Engine with family members, but he is also an artist. His paintings and drawings are studies of awe and paradise – tropical and underwater scenes, a church, a tree growing despite the rocky terrain or a bird posing with a red berry in its beak. He also creates buildings out of cardboard, complete with roofs made of sandpaper and brick facades made out of tiny, hand-painted pieces of wood. While he was doing accounting work for the Spokane Art School, he created an artistic birdhouse out of cardboard and donated it to the school’s auction. For a display at his garden club’s booth at the Interstate Fair, he designed and built a giant bouquet of cardboard flowers.

Lately, Frickle has been painting murals on fences in the Otis Orchards neighborhood where he lives with Vicky, his wife of 36 years.

First he painted an Asian theme of misty mountain tops, cranes, and the branch of a tree in the early stages of bloom. Then came an archway leading to a secret garden, a pathway leading to paradise, and a wolf standing by its companion and howling at the moon. A mural, inspired by a line from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken,” will be done after another neighbor builds a shed.

“I have survived a pretty stressful career in public accounting by staying in balance with art of all types. Point me to a piano and I’ll play it. Show me a garden and I’ll plant flowers. Give me a blank wall and I’ll put color on it somehow and wooden fences – no problem,” he said.


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