War Paint is Just Part of the Picture: Meet Paul Richmond

paul 1

Paul Richmond and I have never met in person but have become friends on Facebook and I have been following all that he has been doing with the arts, not just his War Paints project but his amazing work with anti-bullying.  He is so active in the community in so many ways that I just had to get to know him better!

War Paint painting in progress

War Paint painting in progress

Paul’s art training began at a young age… 3 1/2 years old!!! and all he wanted to do was draw!… when he started taking lessons from a local painter named Linda Regula at her studio once a week. His  parents, neither of whom are artistically inclined, didn’t know what to do with a kid turning out about two hundred drawings a day so they connected with Linda thanks to a neighbor’s recommendation and the rest is history! She was his teacher/mentor all throughout childhood, teaching him to oil paint by the time he was four!  Do you believe it??? When he became a teenager, she was instrumental in helping him put together a portfolio for  his application to CCAD.  Thanks to her invaluable help, he was accepted at Columbus College of Art and Design, studied Illustration and graduated with a BFA in 2002.

Paul with Linda Regula and the War Paint portrait of her

Paul with Linda Regula and the War Paint portrait of her

He has always been drawn to creating, and he’s not really sure where that came from. It’s a bit of an obsession, and thankfully one that he’s been able to channel into a creative and productive career. Gratitude for the gifts he’s been given are paramount to his success because he knows there are a lot of creatively inclined people who don’t always have the same opportunities and encouragement that he was fortunate to receive.Paul certainly credits Linda with helping to foster his creativity and helping him realize that being an artist was a real career possibility. But he’s also very grateful to his parents for going so far out of their comfort zones to help him pursue something that he’s sure made very little sense to them.

Narrative art is the focus of most of his pieces; most of it telling a story-sometimes humorous, sometimes more serious.  He finds inspiration from other artists, spanning all genres and time periods.  Folders on his computer, Pinterest boards, book shelves filled with art books and old-fashioned file folders overflowing with collections of images all inspire him in different ways. “With my current War Paint series, I’m also particularly inspired by the way various cultures use face/body paint and the significance it holds for them.”

Paintings a few years ago were very smooth – you could barely detect the brushstrokes –but now he’s moving into a much more impasto style. He has found that he is enjoying the freedom and expressive nature of this approach. Additionally, he explains his technique:

 My paintings are primarily figurative, so I begin by working with models and photographing them. I print them out and hang them on the wall around my easel. Then it’s just all about building up layers of paint on the canvas. I use the palette knife quite a bit these days to get a more textured look. I like to start with an abstract swirl of colors and go from there. 

He has an online store, with prints and original paintings, is at http://paulrichmondstore.com selling art online since 2008, and had exhibits in numerous galleries throughout the United States. Currently, he has a studio at Brickbox Studios in Grandview.

**Fusion** New design! modeled by Paul!! http://paulrichmondswag.com/

**Fusion** New design! modeled by Paul!!

 Last year, he was honored to receive the Forte Award from the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, and to have it presented by one of his personal artistic heroes, Jim Arter. Jim was the first recipient of the award and Paul had been there to cheer him on when he received it, so it was especially meaningful. Forte honors someone from the central Ohio community who blends both the arts and social awareness in their work.  Congrats, Paul! And, most recently, he was part of a group exhibition at Pennington Gallery in Clintonville that was on display through the end of June featuring some of his recent War Paint pieces as well as work by other artists from Brickbox Studios.
nude in tub

Not content to rest on his laurels, Paul has also become very involved with the anti-bullying movement in Columbus and created an organization to combat and enlighten:

In addition to making my own art, one project I am especially passionate about is an anti-bullying organization I started with Linda (my former art teacher). It’s called the You Will Rise Project and it was created as a forum for people who have experienced bullying to express themselves through the arts. I was bullied horribly as a kid and had very low self-esteem as a result. Art classes with Linda made all the difference because she encouraged me to use painting as a way of expressing what I was going through. Many young people keep those feelings bottled up, and I think that’s why we have so many cases of bullying-related suicide happening around the country. Learn more about the project at http://youwillriseproject.com.

war paint indiana

 He also has plans for future shows…busily preparing for a “War Paint” solo exhibition at the Evansville Museum in Indiana. (the show runs March 3 – May 4, 2016). He also recently completed two commissions for James Franco that will appear in his upcoming movie The Long Home. In addition, he is working on a photo/painting collaboration with Briden Schueren that will be published in a calendar honoring the work of Walt Whitman.
Paul with James Franco

Paul with James Franco

Well I don’t know about you, but I am duly impressed with Paul, his work, his dedication to the You Will Rise Project and his exuberance about what he creates.  I truly hope that in the near future his path and mine pass so I can meet this talented young man…keeping my fingers crossed!
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