-Joe Pitts (@headtowall)
To gear up for our First Quarter art show on March 28th in Philadelphia, we will be presenting a series of interviews with each artist displaying work at the show. After our first interview with MU from Atlanta, we're back with an interview for featured artist RichRichRich. Peep his work and the interview below:
CCG: Tell us about yourself! What is your name, where are you from and how long have you been making art?
Rich: Greetings, my name is Richard McLean.
I am a first-born American with my family hailing from Jamaica. I have lived in 5 states to this point. Originally born in The Bronx, NY; moved to LA at a young age; then to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; then to Philly for college; moved to Brooklyn upon graduation; and currently somewhere between New Jersey and Brooklyn. Ultimately I identify strongest with New York because of the mashup of culture that comes along with it as well as the opportunity be free and experimental.
I have always had my hands involved in the arts from photography, to clothing, to painting on canvas. I have been designing clothes for 4 years now. I have been painting in an abstract/modernism style for about 2 years now.
CCG: What made you want to express yourself through art?
Rich: Art always had a strong influence on me from a spectator standpoint; but the ability to express my thoughts and emotions through art has become a key release for me. Helping me grow as a man and understanding the world around me.
The fact that I can create freely and leave it up to the viewer to connect with my creation as they see fit really motivates me to do better. I see the realm of art as the most potent piece of communication we as humans possess.
CCG: What is your preferred medium and what is special about that medium?
Rich: My preferred medium is painting acrylic on canvas. I love the fact that through painting you can build on pre-established layers. I like the fact that acrylic paint dries fairly quick and is a clean medium to work with.
CCG: How do you feel your art captures the story you want to tell in life?
Rich: I feel that the art I make communicates a story of perseverance and passion. I want to show through my work that you don’t need to always have formal training to be great at something. The vision and passion can suffice as long as you continue to be productive and work hard on your craft constantly creating. Vision and expression are the key ingredients.
CCG: How is your art a reflection of the person you are and the person you aspire to be?
Rich: My art reflects myself personally because of the process I take to arrive at my finished products. I tend to start with madness, mess, and chaos on the canvas.
After multiple layers I cover the visual noise with strong, straight, refined lines, and angles. It reminds me of myself, in the way that the chaos and order looming in my thoughts constantly battle one another in my mind. Through my painting process I can turn the paradox into something beautiful that can be digested.
As a finishing touch I add hidden ‘smiling faces’ in my paintings; giving my works a “Where’s Waldo” effect. The viewer gets joy from searching my paintings closely to find smiling surprises. Just as I find joy in the details of life.
CCG: Do you feel art is a reflection of the world or the world is more influenced by art?
Rich: Obviously, one hand washes the other but I feel like God is the greatest artist of all time. So with that said, I think the beauty I witness on a daily basis is my most influential stimuli in wanting to create something beautiful constantly.
CCG: If somebody could describe your art as if it were a person, how would he or she look and what would her personality be like?
Rich: If someone could describe my art with personal traits they would say she is a beautiful and complex person of culture and thought. My art is someone who makes you think, and is constantly growing and evolving as a human being. My art is a person that you have to get close to, to fully understand her details and true beauty. She possesses an original energy, but somehow you feel as if you have known her for a lifetime upon first meeting.
CCG: By doing the inaugural First Quarter art show, what is something you hope to gain from the experience?
Rich: This is my first time publicly showing my paintings. I cannot lie; I am a bit anxious and nervous for taking this step. From this experience I expect to get a feel for how people generally respond to my work and how I can market myself and continue to get better as an artist; learning to sell my works and getting in front of the right markets. I hope to sell at least two pieces on this night.
CCG: Okay, enough about the art. The world needs to know: you’re stranded on an island and can only bring three food items with you. What makes the cut?
Rich: Probably not the healthiest of choices; but I truly am a sucker for a delicious Pepperoni Pizza. I love Mac N’ Cheese, and I need Jerk Chicken in my life! Not sure how long I could survive with these three foods on an Island, but if I don’t make it, I would surely die with a smile on my face. haha
CCG: What type of movie is your favorite and why? Pick from drama, action/adventure, science fiction, comedy, thriller or horror
Rich: That’s a tough question. I have an affinity for action/adventure movies. They just have a way of pumping me up, thinking that I can do anything after the movie ends.
I remember when I first saw the movie 300. I was ready to do 1000 pushups and kick someone in the chest into an endless pit. Haha.
CCG: What is one of your deepest fears?
Rich: One of my deepest fears is wondering, “What could have been?” In my eyes, it is more risky to NOT take a risk. I have no idea how long I will be on this planet, but I want to explore every interest and leave no stones unturned. Life is about learning through risk and reward.
CCG: What is your opinion of Philadelphia? Specifically, the creative scenes in the city (whether that be art, music, fashion or anything else creative)
Rich: As I have said, I have lived in many places; I can honestly say Philadelphia is in my top 3 cities to live in this country. I love how close-knit the artistic community is in Philadelphia. I feel like everyone knows everyone here. I haven’t witnessed a community like this before. Philly has a lot of artistic talent and I have a deep appreciation for the 100s of murals that cover this city. Art is literally everywhere here.
CCG: Lastly, who was your biggest artistic influence? If you don’t have one, who is someone who aspires you to create?
Rich: Can I say the internet? I see so many inspiring things on a daily basis surfing the net. It really inspires me to keep building on my taste level to get to the artistry I envision myself creating.
Personally, Leonardo Da Vinci has always been a large inspiring influence for me specifically because he was ‘a man of many hats.’ He literally tried his hand at every form of art. That really inspires me because I am an abstract thinker who cannot be categorized.
To RSVP for the free First Quarter art show, simply click the flyer below (fill out the form and location will be emailed to you the week of the event):