Tuesday, Jan. 21, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
Renowned Las Vegas artist Rick Parks, whose work adorns the walls and ceilings of major Strip and downtown hotel-casinos and the Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, has died. He was 46.
Parks, a 20-year Las Vegas resident, died of leukemia Dec. 15 at the UCLA Medical Center. His family, which held private services in Las Vegas and Southern California, disclosed the death Monday.
Parks, who was diagnosed with the fatal blood disease last October during a routine physical, was remembered as an artist who paid great attention to detail.
"He was meticulous when it came to detail," said Las Vegas businessman Jack Greco, a friend since they attended grade school together.
"Rick's work resembled photographs, but his strokes were gentle and his colors and shadows were spectacular -- more than lifelike."
Parks' works included a mural of Red Rock Canyon that hung in the main office of the old Valley Bank building on Convention Center Drive and a large painting of a ship that is on display at the Treasure Island hotel-casino.
Among the noted individuals who commissioned his work were casino owners Steve Wynn and Donald Trump and Las Vegas banker Parry Thomas.
Celebrities who own Parks originals include magicians Siegfried and Roy and actor Sylvester Stallone.
"Rick was an outgoing individual who loved to water ski and fly ultralights," said Greco, noting that Parks was godfather to his 11-year-old son, Johnny.
"Rick loved kids and his creativity was boundless. He could take peoples' thoughts and put them on paper in quick sketches."
Born Nov. 5, 1950, in Pasadena, Calif., Parks, the son of a scientist, quickly developed an interest in the arts.
After graduating from La Canada High School where he sang in the madrigal choir, Parks entered Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1969 and majored in art.
For a stint, Parks attended the Fine Arts Academy of Vienna, Austria, before returning to Occidental where he got his art degree.
As young artist, Parks drew portraits on the streets of Balboa Island and Venice Beach, Calif., and sold them for $1 apiece.
In 1977, Parks came to Las Vegas, where he first worked in a portrait studio at the Aladdin Hotel. He later was employed by the MGM Grand Hotel (now Bally's) art gallery.
In the early 1980s, Parks went to work for Atlandia Design, and produced works that cover the walls and ceilings of lobbies and suites at Wynn's hotels -- Golden Nugget, Mirage and Treasure Island.
Trump hired Parks to create works that today hang in his home, on the Trump Princess yacht and in the Presidential suite of the Trump Plaza hotel-casino.
At the onset of the home computer age in the late 1980s, Parks expanded his artistic skills to include computer graphics, designing award-winning characters and backgrounds for Westwood Studios, a Las Vegas software company.
Among that body of work are designs for a video game based on Disney's "The Lion King" animated motion picture.
Parks is survived by his wife, Pamela Parks of Las Vegas; his mother, Hanne Parks of Balboa Island; his father, Robert Parks of Balboa Island; and two brothers, Gary Parks and John Parks, both of Pasadena, Calif.
DONATIONS: In Parks' memory to the American Cancer Society.