Local Artist Receives International Acclaim

By John Carter Aimone
Kendama, you might know it as the ball-and-string game that you’ve been trying (perhaps not succeeding) to master since last Christmas. Did you know that each of the balls are hand-painted? If so, did you know the man who paints them lives right here in Cache Valley?
I however, did not. This time a week ago, a group of fellow students, myself included, set out to find a local business to document as part of our Technical Writing homework. We initially picked Fun Unlimited, but little did we know a far better subject sat just next door.
Sean Nathan Ricks, a Cache Valley native since birth, recently achieved worldwide recognition in the fast-growing world of Kendama. Bahama Kendama, one of the brand’s top sellers in the country, states his “many styles and attention to detail have made him one of the most popular Tama (the ball) painters around.”
He spends the bulk of his time marketing his creations at conventions such as Fantasy-Con, the Utah Winter Faire, the Salt Lake City Steam Fest and San Diego’s Comic-Con. A much shorter list would feature the conventions that do NOT feature him.
Back home, Sean is a painter and entrepreneur who currently operates the Fun Zone arcade in the Cache Valley Mall. His friend Scott Mcune provided him a booth through which to sell his paintings right at the front desk of the arcade. Though Sean earned a coast-to-coast following painting custom Tamas, very recently he provided the cover art for two published Utah authors, including a forthcoming novel from author Scott Tarbet of A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk fame. The details of this latest project can’t be released yet, so for now we will all need to wait with hushed expectation for the launch party, featuring artwork from Cache Valley’s own Sean Nathan Ricks.


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