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Who am I?

Updated: Jan 2


Richard Heley

Please describe your artwork style

Surreal, linear, falling out of me like desires riding a tidal wave of joyous colour. Philosophical dreaming. A blank space filled to the brim with nothing.


What’s your background?

Born in Totternhoe, Bedfordshire, England where fathers family traces back hundreds of years in that village. Grew up in Australia where I went to teachers college and trained as specialist art and craft teacher but I didn’t want to teach so I dropped out and returned to UK to live in London squats in the 70’s, wrote poetry, songs, played in bands, began painting “Live” as performance in clubs such as The Tabernacle, Megatripolis, and Noel McKoy’s songwriters night at Subterranea. In 1980’s we put on salon gigs in my studio, with songwriters, storytelling and poetry. I put up boards on the wall for the children to draw on with oil pastels and this led along a process which has produced more than 60 joyous murals working interactively with children in UK, Australia, USA, South Africa. I won the 1997 Farago UK poetry slam championship and toured the USA performing poetry and stories. I’ve kept notebooks of poetry, stories and drawings since 70’s, line drawing has been my joy, it permeates work on paper and paintings on canvas


How long have you been an artist?

Forever. After years of put down in the English schools of 50’s and 60’s, I arrived in my new Australian school, handed in an essay and the English teacher gave it back saying “I enjoyed that”. One simple sentence changed my life. The value of approval! Similar encouragement while swishing a paint brush found approval in the art room led me to realise at 16 that I was a painter. Some things in life you bump into like you’ve always known them, like you’ve been there and done that before. At 16 I knew I’d been an artist forever. I am on earth to decorate the garden.


Who or what are your biggest influences?

I am just influenced by being alive and fascinated by the nature of existence, which is transitory, impermanent, full of beautiful sorrow...well, that and weed.


How have you developed your career?

My career has just “lived,” from squats, to playing in rock bands, writing poetry, stories, songs. Always drawing, keeping notebooks, painting, without asking for anything except to become skilled.


Which current art world trends are you following?

I follow myself, down blind alleys, over the edge, around in circles, to the back of mind. My only trend is to get on with practicing creativity until it flows instantaneously.


Where do you do your work? 

Work? I just ride my bike around town, talk to ducks by the canal,get in three fights with myself before lunch, come home battered but full of it and let it fall out in song, poetry, story form...then I'll laugh, get wasted and transfer todays experiences onto canvas. You know...just expanding as an evolutionary soul. 


What technique/s / mediums do you use? 

Pencil, colour pencil, Oil Pastels, acrylic paint.
 Guitar. Brain. Fingers


Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed? 

I already told HRH that I am "Not guilty Your Majesty, I have never executed one of your subjects. Well not knowingly...sometimes
"


How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?

You practice skills constantly and some times it flows without effort, those are peak moments and the artists meditation is how to reach those peak moment the hold them for as long as possible. When you are lost in concentration, there is no time just a beauty that is heart of dog which everyone knows is god in the mirror.



Interactive painting with children. We take pre primed hard boards (favorite size 183x122cm) to schools, festivals & galleries. Children make drawings on boards and then we take the boards home and paint around the drawings. Here we've painted elephants, turtle, dolphin... The combination of the dreaming power of children combined with the design and paint skills of artists has produced some truly joyous work. 60+ murals This was painted by Richard Heley and Seema Gill who is a wonderful painter/poet/novelist

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