Richard Popko has studied oil painting for six years under Nancy Willis and Connie Wright at Napa Valley College. His mentors include Napa Valley artists Christine Olivo, Phoebe Ellsworth and Sara Barnes. Inspiration for his style, palette, imagery and themes has been influenced by American artists Edward Hopper, Wayne Thiebaud and Richard Diebenkorn.
Subject matter for his paintings comes from Popko's life experiences. Popko develops ideas for his paintings from photos he shoots in Chinatown, North Beach, Hayes Valley, Jackson Square, the Mission and the Tenderloin. Based on his photos, he prepares drawings and painted sketches of a scene. A final painting is then created that embodies a mood, attitude and ambiance somewhat reminiscent of neo film noire. To capture the feeling he uses a bold color palette, side lighting, contrasting light and dark shades, shadows and angular shapes.