myles golden
October 22, 2012
Rivian Butikofer Art

Rivian Butikofer Art

Rivian has been teaching art for over 35 years; Samples of her work are featured above.  Her knowledge of art history and passion for contemporary artists keep us coming back for more of her classes.  Every time I see Rivian she’s telling me about a new artist she discovered or about the many museums she has visited.  Her enthusiasm is contagious and the patience she shows with her students is refreshing.  We are very excited and honored that she has agreed to be our art contributor and she will also be donating a private 2-hour art lesson for our Buddhi Session on November 10th.  Don’t miss this great opportunity and read below to get to know her a little bit.  She’s truly an amazing teacher!

How did you get into art and why?

I don’t remember when I was NOT “into art,”  Why?  It was/is just there…it’s a part of me…like it’s a part of everyone!  Art has always been in my life, it is in my genes! I am a first generation American. My Mother and Father were Russian Jews who escaped the Pogroms. I am proud of my link to the numerous wonderful Jewish Russian Artists who preceded me. In 1986 I followed my dream by going to live in Paris, France where I taught and painted. I have since gone to Europe at least once a year and always return to Paris.

Do you think everyone can do art and is it important?

Yes, EVERYONE can do ART & it is as important as breathing!  Art permeates our entire life.  It helps us to be creative and problem solve in everything we do.  It’s also fun, makes us happy and helps tremendously in feeling good about ourselves!

What would you recommend for someone who doesn’t have an art background but wants to experiment with it?

Take one of my classes or workshops at my studio or at The Athenaeum.

Does yoga help your art or can you see some similarities between the two?

Yes, Yoga helps my art because it teaches me to focus and get in touch with a part of me that nothing else but art can do.  I try to carry into everyday life the “lessons” and feelings that I derive from my yoga practice and from my art.   Practicing yoga & making art (even just looking at art), can give me the feeling of fulfillment, peace, and joy.

Where can we find your art and is there anything that you are promoting right now?  

You can find samples of my work at  I also have new classes and workshops every two months at The Athenaeum in La Jolla and at her studio in Misson Beach.

What is your style of painting if you have one?

My “style” evolves constantly.  I see so much art when we travel that i cannot help but be influenced by all of the marvelous artists that we see! Contemporary society also affects my work.

Where do you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from so many different things: wonderful art, my students, seeing beauty and ugliness, sadness and being happy, history and people…

Our travels have taken us to to many countries besides Western and Eastern Europe, including Haiti, Turkey, Morocco, Israel, and Russia. My work is in collections in Germany, France, Israel, U.S, and Canada.


Some of Rivian’s favorite artists showcased above are:

(Rivian is middle, second row).

Alexej Von Jawlensky (bottom left) – A Russian expressionist painter active in Germany. He was a key member of the New Munich Artist’s Association, Der Blaue Reiter group.  Jawlensky’s expression through texture & color is so fabulous.  When I use a lot of color he is one of the influences.  German Expressionism has always spoken to me…loudly!

Kathe Kollwitz (bottom right) – This artists’ work communicates with my soul.  No other Artist succeeds in showing the “human condition” more than she does.

Willem De Kooning (top) is my one of my heroes because he was one of my first influences when I began painting in the 70’s. He is still relevant today because of his foresight last century.

Anselm Kiefer (not featured) was born in Germany in 1945.  He is one of the most important artists working today!  His works, which have a conversation with HISTORY incorporate materials like straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac.  The poems of Paul Celan have played a role in developing Keifer’s themes of German history and the horror of the Holocaust, as have the theological concepts of Kabbalah.


Leave a Reply