Over 30 years ago artist, inventor, and aviator John Pitre, whose socially and environmentally themed fantasy paintings have sold millions in reproductions, thought he lost virtually everything in a fire that destroyed his home in Kahala on the island of Oahu.
Pitre recalls, “Everything was gone in a flash—my studio and all of my portfolio, burned to the ground...The fire was so fast we were lucky to escape it.”
The fire destroyed most of Pitre's personal possessions including his catalog of original artwork, as well as antiques, invention prototypes, and even an early self-designed aircraft. The fire did not slow this modern day Da Vinci down. He literally rose from the ashes and went on to become one of the top-selling artists of his time. He also found success as an inventor of groundbreaking fitness equipment, a designer and pilot of experimental aircraft, and as the founder of Natural Power Concepts—a leader in the world of renewable energy technology.
Zach Thomson, Manager of Pitre Fine Arts, was helping to move some long forgotten metal cabinets that had survived the fire and a move to Pitre's new studio when he made a fortuitous discovery.
“Some of the drawers had been pinched closed and obviously not opened for years, maybe decades. When we moved the studio, I dislodged the drawers and pulled everything out, and was shocked to find a huge stack of original drawings, color studies, and sketches - many of which remain unseen and unpublished to this day. John and everyone else had thought these items perished in the fire.”
“It’s fun to see pieces that I haven’t seen in nearly 30 years,” Pitre said after being reacquainted to his old drawings. “I forgot many of them existed!”
Many of the sketches, paintings, and color notes recovered including the ones shown here are now available at JohnPitre.com.