AIE Conversation Series: W.C. Richardson

Artist W.C. Richardson sat down with Art in Embassies staff to talk about his artwork and influences on his piece in the Ankara exhibition 2015. Produced in conjunction with Art in Embassies’ exhibition in Ankara at the official residence of U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, John R. Bass

Full Transcript

0:00I think you walk through life as an artist looking for confirmation and inspiration at
0:05the same time. When my first grade teacher called my mom and said, “I can’t keep this
0:09guy in his seat. He finishes his work, he’s walking around helping everybody else and
0:15what do I do?” and my Mom said, “Give him something to do. It’s obvious that you’re
0:19not giving him enough to do.” So, she had a masters degree in art education, and once
0:26she saw that I liked to draw she started feeding me art supplies.
0:29I ove painting, and I love print making. I love sculpture too. But the fantasy of two
0:38dimensions was just interestnig to me. I think geometric perfection was built into life as
0:45a positive force. You walk into a gallery or a museum and you see one of my paintings
0:51and its flat, and graphic and tight. “Oh yeah, that’s all machined out” Then you get up to
0:57it and it’s all kind of quirky and wobbly and hand-made.
1:00I don’t thin the paint, I don’t use tape, and so every edge is kind of a negotiation.
1:08I will draw things out and then paint them. And Iwill follow the quirks of the drawing.
1:17I’m free drawing, because then my body’s engaged. When I’m working on something that large … or
1:23even that large, and I’m having to climb up on things to reach the top, or squat down
1:29to get to the bottom it warps it.
1:32If you get up to em, and look at em you see that what you thoguht from 10 feet away was
1:36this crisp hard edge is bumpy and is made by hand and is not really a rectangle because
1:43I traced out a rectangle in a template, then I painted it 6 times. And every time I painted
1:48it it would just kind of waver off of that.
1:50I dont use rulers. Well I do use some rulers, but usually for the big straight-edge I use
1:56a board that I’ve had for 10 years, you know that’s got a little warp in it. So my grid
2:01will have a little warp in it.
2:02Probably one of the best ways to say it is that “I think with my paintings”. I read.
2:07I listen to music. I talk to people. I travel. I do all this as a distillation. So this is
2:16a line of thought. It’s a line of inquiry for me. And I don’t know where its going,
2:21and I’m making up the rules. Like I said, I’m asking the questions and the answers at
2:27the same time.

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