While grocery shopping at the Pavilion Plaza at Bob Hope and Gerald Ford in Rancho Mirage, I happened to look up to see a big banner that said “Kracke” over what I knew to have previously been an unused storefront. Being the nosy kind of guy that I am, I ventured over to see what I could see. Lo and behold, I found a temporary “pop up” store selling amazing art by a gentleman named Don Kracke (rhymes with “wacky”). And since I’m always looking for interesting art for my design clients, I knew I had to check it out.
Don, a charming, gregarious 82-year-old Palm Springs Valley resident, is a very accomplished career artist who is presently battling Parkinson’s disease. Some friends and colleagues of his encouraged him to mount a retrospective—his first—to show the world what he’s been doing for the bulk of his adult life. And as a fun aside, Don’s also the inventor of the Rickie Tickie Stickies flower stickers (think “flower power” VW busses) that sold MILLIONS in the ‘60s—and I really mean millions—as in, 90 million in 1968 alone!
But back to his other art… I was quite taken by Don’s wide-ranging style. Early drawings in ink are incredibly detailed. An eclectic collection of paintings range from comical, Picasso-esqe, and geometric to extremely lifelike portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. His later work, he explains to me, uses a mixture of sand and paint that allows him to be a bit more interpretive and less “precise” as he deals with his disease. He’s still painting and his current work is beautiful.
The first weekend, the more than 200 works on display were offered on a silent auction basis, with starting bids considerably below market value. (The art is now sold via standard pricing.) The show will run through the end of May and is definitely worth the trip over to the Pavilion Plaza. Pop in to this pop up prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Tell people Potter Palma persuaded you. Uh-oh, here I go again, starting to sound like Diana Dodge!