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artist in focus: ray richardson


Collection Five’s headliner Ray Richardson is a multi-award winning artist whose oil paintings on Belgian linen are dramatically cinematic. His work has been described by GQ Magazine as ‘the Martin Scorsese of figurative painting’ and by The Independent as ‘the David Lynch of canvas and paint’. Born and bred in South East London, Ray creates works which are more than just a mirror of everyday life


How do you describe your work?

I describe my work as narrative, figurative painting



What would you say are your biggest influences?

My greatest influences are varied. They’re from everywhere and anything, from art to photography to books to film to music and from my own stories and from other people’s tales. But if you’re talking just artists, then anyone from Bruegel to Sir Peter Blake to Vermeer to Hogarth to Luc Tuymans to Edward Hopper, and photographers William Klein and Robert Frank - but it’s always changing



Who do you have in mind when you create your work?

I have me in mind when I create my work. If you start making work you think people are going to buy, then you’re hamstrung artistically, and your integrity compromised, so initially it has to be for you and if people like it - which they seem to - then you’re fortunate



What makes your art different, special and irresistible?

I’ve always swum against the tides of fashion in art, which makes it different and special in my book. I was at art school at Goldsmiths during the rise of conceptual work with the likes of fellow students Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas making that kind of work. At the time, it was all around me but I just wanted to paint in a figurative style and with a narrative back story. That wasn’t the thing at all to be doing back then but I did it nonetheless



What do people say when they see your portfolio? How does your art make them feel?

I think people like to see well-made, confident painting. From the evidence of the opening weekend of a recent show of mine, I noted how my work engaged people to really look at it. Because of the way I compose and crop my paintings there’s often a feeling that something has just happened or is going to happen outside the picture plane. In many cases, the audience make up their own stories to attach to the paintings, but there may also be clues in the titles to nudge them on their way



What do you think motivates people to buy your art? How does it appeal to the heart?

You’d have to ask my customers - but I guess people see content in the works which they can connect to in a positive way. I’ve certainly sold my work to a real cross-section of people. I just make the work and sometimes a piece will take time to find a home and other times it flies off the wall immediately. There are no rules




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