When you receive a request like this
Ruth… this might be somewhat presumptuous on my part, but there’s a kiwi artist mate of mine who’s working in Ireland at the moment… he might well be interested in taking part. A smaller work on paper – or somesuch – would be cheap enough for him to send from the emerald isle. I’ve attached two wee examples of his work for you to have a squiz…
Well I was intrigued so I replied yes and sent off some poems for the mysterious Richard to consider…. and a reply came back from Richard’s mate Dave Gunson
Ruth… talking to Richie in Ireland tonight on the phone… he really can’t make up his mind between two poems …. is there any chance that you’re in such a lovely disposition this morning that you’d allow him to use both poems??? I’ll even write PRETTY PLEASE in nice colours for you…!
Anyone who can make me laugh first thing in the morning is on to a winner so I said Yes, but please don’t make a big song and dance about it as all the other artists have only been offered one poem……..
And then there was a long long silence until today an email flew into my box from the mysterious Richard. (I’ve asked for a photo to prove he really exists!)
In his words…..
Well now, a bio to help you see the worker behind the work, a little.
Why not? If so interested. Read on..
If I had to offer a favourite working practice, it would be plein air, or painting the female nude in a richly coloured environs. Both offer endless intuitive or representative response, enough for something so short as our one life. Although you can work from anything, nothing can offer the sheer range and depth, the resonance of the living presence in front of you.
Individual works of art affect me more than any particular artist.
Artists; off the cuff, Joseph Beuys, Rhona Haszard, Basquiat, Frances Hodgkins, Anselm Kiefer – you can mention Gerhard Richter and Dave Gunson in the same breath. Turner, plein air artist? Who lashes themselves to a ship’s mast to experience a storm at sea? To do something similar, be on par with JMW, would an artist today not have to lash himself to the spaceship Challenger to experience space?
I have no consideration for what will or won’t sell while working. That’s not smart, but it’s how it is. That stuff comes to the fore, come exhibition time. Even then you can get it completely wrong. So stay true to what comes through.
First exhibited work was in Christchurch Art Gallery. Or a drawing comp. I won when I was five, but I can’t remember if that was shown or not. I won a Richard Scarry big book, which I read til it fell to pieces. Class.
This could be a lot of places. It represents the place I feel I most belong in the world, in spirit if not actual presence, the place I grew up – Auckland. The things you see in it are the places we went to most, enjoyed the best, with family, friends, alone. It resides in us wherever we go. We return to it more the older we know.
And look what arrived in my inbox today – a photo of Richard. He actually exists!