Not an abstractionist, not a realist, Pitcher’s work lies somewhere in between, inspired by coastal culture and landscape. Pitcher’s paintings are grounded in a particular sense of place, representing his search for an authentic vocabulary to describe life in Southern California.
"The challenge and the desire is to make a genuine, truthful statement."
Hank Pitcher is known for his iconic paintings of contemporary California culture and the coastal landscape. Born in Pasadena, California in1949, Pitcher’s family moved to the then rural beach community Isla Vista when he was two years old, where Pitcher and his family have lived in Santa Barbara ever since. A highly recruited high school athlete, Pitcher choose instead to be one of the first students accepted at UCSB's new College of Creative Studies. At CCS he worked with Bay Area Figurative Artist Paul Wonner and Los Angeles iconoclast Charles Garabedian. Pitcher was influenced by seminars with visionary scientist Buchminister Fuller and a long association with literary critic Marvin Mudrick. After graduating in 1971 he traveled to Long Island where he met New York School painter Paul Georges, who became a friend and mentor. Pitcher spent summers on Long Island during the 1970's and made frequent trips to New York City, pursuing his interest in New York School painting while staying true to his Santa Barbara roots.
Hank Pitcher is a Senior Lecturer SOE of the College of Creative Studies at UCSB, where he has been part of the core faculty since 1971. Pitcher has helped develop cross-disciplinary classes with other faculty, often involving the UC Natural Reserve System where he is a member of the Advisory Committee. Active in conservation, Pitcher has been a member of the Oak Group for over 25 years, a supporter of Heal the Ocean, Surfrider Foundation, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, the Gaviota Coastal Conservancy and other local and national organizations. Pitcher founded the Institute for Landscape Painting, which has brought distinguished visitors from multiple disciplines to the UCSB campus to discuss the evolution of man's relationship to nature as evidenced in art.
Instrumental in the development of two American cultural icons, Pitcher designed the facility and logo for the first Kinko's store which was originally located in Isla Vista. Pitcher named and created the logo for Mr. Zogs Sex Wax for then UCSB business major Rick Herzog. Before making wax, Mr. Zog made surfboards, of which Pitcher owned a number of back in the day. Pitcher organized the first exhibit of surfboards as contemporary art. "Real Surfboards" at The Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara.
Pitchers Paintings are the voice of California culture. Leading a life focused on teaching, family, surf and friends, Pitchers work captures the California landscape and coastal regions with “effortless” and visual truth.