Rick Lobdell ‘96

Major: Painting/Philosophy
Job Title: Decorative Concrete Artist

Major While at Mount Union: Painting and Philosophy

Hometown: Salem, Ohio

Employer: Owner of Concrete Mystique Engraving


Concrete as Art
I turn boring grey concrete into custom works of art.  I hand draw, hand cut and hand stain all of my floors, no stencils or templates. I travel the country teaching other contractors, doing demonstrations and working on beautiful homes. Since everything is done by hand, each project becomes very custom to the client or location.

Why Mount Union
I looked at a few great colleges before I chose Mount Union. I had a few ancestors that had also attended Mount. I remember when we were touring the college they talked about this new “Lattice Network” that was being installed so that we could research and do homework through this expensive “wired network” the school was installing. It took a few years for them to get it running then we watched those first steps turn into the famous “internet.” Either way it was a big selling point to me.

Small Community
There is something about the “feel” of Mount Union that attracted me. It felt comfortable there. I liked how it felt like a small community. I was from a small town right next door. I didn’t move from a huge metropolis to a small town or vice versa. It was just the right size for me. 

Favorite Professors
I had two favorites. Joel Collins because he always believed I could be an artist and pushed me to never stop working hard at what I wanted to create and Dr. William Davis for talking me into majoring in philosophy.  I learned so much that has truly helped me on so many levels since then. Both of them gave me the confidence to pursue my graduate degree.

First Job
I was a professional ballroom dancer. It led me on a great path of connections through Savannah, Georgia, that I could never have dreamed of. I ended up teaching dance in the Media and Performing Arts department at Savannah College of Art and Design for a year before moving to Nashville, Tennessee.  

Involvement on Campus
I joined the fraternity Alpha Tau Omega (ATO), was on the campus Recycling Team and was the wrestling team manager for a while.

Continued Education
I earned a Masters of Fine Art in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.

Well-Rounded Education
I think the most important part of my Mount education was the well-rounded education it gave me. I didn’t just take a basic math class or a basic philosophy class. I was able to take calculus for fun and learned how to write better than I could ever have imagined, all of which helps me still to this day. My grad school was at an art college. I look at its undergraduate program and felt it didn’t have as good of a well-rounded curriculum for students to dig into learning and building a stronger future as Mount offers.

Keeping in Touch
Thanks to Facebook I still keep in touch with friends from Mount Union!  I had a meeting with Sherwin Williams in Cleveland, Ohio, a couple years ago. I posted that I would like to get together with old friends and we all had a great time while I was in town. Gotta love the internet!

I also keep in touch with one very close friend from my days at Mount Union – my wife Nichole (Huebner) Lobdell. We stayed in touch for five years after we met before I finally asked her out, seven years after we met I popped the question, eight years after we met we got married at Mount Union.

Life Goal
Like any other artist dreams, I want to be famous for my artwork.

Importance of Education
I come across a lot of people that call themselves an artist. Many of them have no formal education and have no clue how little they know about what art is. The mix of fine art and philosophy has helped me understand how far an artist can go to create and the confidence to back up everything I do. Some people think a great education comes from just hard work. I disagree, we need higher education in order to understand how to focus all that hard work.

Passion for My Work
I love what I do. I found a niche that most artists don’t even know exists. I could be just another artist trying to sell artwork out of a gallery. Instead I travel the country and show people all the amazing things you can do with the surface of concrete.

I love what I do. I found a niche that most artists don’t even know exists. I could be just another artist trying to sell artwork out of a gallery. Instead I travel the country and show people all the amazing things you can do with the surface of concrete.

Fun Facts

Who is your hero?
What is your biggest pet peeve?
In a meeting with your peers is your phone on the table, in your pocket or purse, left at your desk or in your car?
On the table
What is your favorite movie?
“The Neverending Story”
What is your favorite kind of sandwich?
Meatball sub
What is your usual bedtime?
I don’t like to sleep
Do you dance in the car?
Yes, I also dance on my job sites, at home, everywhere I feel like it.
What was the occupation you wanted to be when you were a kid?
A computer programmer for the government
What’s one thing most people would be surprised to find out about you?
That I am color blind!
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