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Richard Downs
TEW Galleries
posted:
The Actor | Braided Carbon Steel Wire | 48” x 25” x 5” | poor fellow is now in a cardboard crate on his way to Atlanta.

I am excited to be having my first solo show of 2015 on the second floor of TEW Galleries in Atlanta. While creating this show my “Couples” Series hit the 300 mark. I was surprised to see that it was 4 long years ago that the series hit 200…  those numbers worried me and got me thinking, “what have I been doing for the last 4 years?” Back in the day It took 2 years to go from 100 to 200. 

 

Here are some of the pieces that will be in the show. I am hoping that Atlanta will give my work some of that famous Southern hospitality.

 

TEW Galleries

Richard Downs

February 27 - March 27 2015

Couple #301 | © 2015 | Monotype on Japanese Paper 12x15" image size , 17x20" paper size
Figure with Arms Raised | © 2015 | Monotype on Japanese Paper 12x15" image size , 17x20" paper size
Couple #300 | © 2015 | Monotype on Japanese Paper 12x15" image size , 17x20" paper size
Date Night with the Pharaohs | 3 Plate Monotype | 19x23.5” image area 23x28” sheet size | Oil on Japanese Paper | © 2014
Couple #299 | © 2015 | Monotype on Japanese Paper 12x15" image size , 17x20" paper size
A Night Out with the Maya’s | 3 Plate Monotype | 19x23.5” image area 23x28” sheet size | Oil on Japanese Paper | © 2014
Couple #298 | © 2015 | Monotype on Japanese Paper 12x15" image size , 17x20" paper size
Figure with Arms Raised | Braided Carbon Steel Wire | 36” x 19” x 6” | © 2015
The Actor | © 2015 | Monotype on Japanese Paper 12x15" image size , 17x20" paper size
Frederick Holmes and Company | 309 Occidental Avenue South, Seattle

 

 

I am happy to have a new venue for my work in historic Pioneer Square Seattle at Frederick Holmes and Company. The gallery is 2 floors with the top floor dedicated to artists of historic interest. The bottom floor mounts shows for contemporary artists. I am hoping that my new work will connect with the Seattle community. 

I am really proud of my crates and I thought that I would include them in this post. I have been shipping a lot of sculpture over the last year and it has taken that long to perfect my crate building. I use good old recycled appliance boxes that the nice guys in a Sears warehouse give to me. My crates are built like an origami folded box and I gorilla tape my sculpture to one side. When a client receives the crate they just cut a few exterior tape strips and the box unfolds. I have as much fun making the crates as I do the art. Gorilla tape is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. 

 
 
 
All images | Richard Downs © 2015 
Mural
posted:
Service Robot. Coming to your favorite restaurant or bar in 2022.

I am not hired as a period artist but I study my favorite time periods in art and I am inspired by certain work that continue to amaze every time with fresh eyes.  

 

One of my favorite time periods was the WPA murals from the early 20th century and my favorite artist is Diego Rivera. Although Rivera was not a FAP artist and he created his masterpieces before the creation of the WPA/FAP. His work in the Italian Renaissance fresco style inspired and laid the groundwork for countless artists from the WPA/FAP. So when I got a call from the International Monetary Fund to design a 21st century mural inspired by Diego Rivera and the WPA muralists I was in.

 

After the teleconference with my Art Director and the Editors I hung up and quickly realized my commitment and that Diego Rivera and these other artists possessed supernatural powers in design and execution. The deadline was short so that was helpful to get the quadrants of the mural approved. We needed a scene of an agricultural worker and a port worker. An immigrant with a suitcase looking for a better life. A vocational teacher with children including the dreaded chalkboard concept :). A science and or medicine related piece, call center workers and the final panel was a service robot. The robot concept threw me as being a little far off into the future but I love robots so I’d say I was good to go.

 

Design went smooth with a few tweaks and I paced myself for 3 full days for transferring and painting to make the tight deadline. This train was now on the track and it just needed to be painted out so day one we have a huge storm and a telephone pole snaps next to our home while I am out teaching and power is cut to 1,200 homes for my first painting night.  With no power I pull out my camping lanterns and hit Big 5 for more battery powered Illumination.

 

In the raining morning I rented a portable generator to power my studio. At this point I was granted overtime to do whatever it took to finish the piece but I had already lost an entire Friday night and Saturday morning. The deadline hit the fan on me and I hadn’t done a real all-nighter in years so I started at 5:00 am Sunday morning and finished this piece on Tuesday at 2:30 am without sleeping but I took some breaks. I didn’t think that I could pull it off and for many hours alone in the middle of the night I wished that I had a clone but it was actually not that bad and sort of invigorating in an overworked circus animal kind of way. By the way, I do not condone the treatment of circus animals. 

 

I am so grateful that this job is over and that everyone was happy with the results. 

I couldn’t deal with painting under the low light conditions for more than 4 hours and I had to call it a night. I have such a new found respect for the old masters who had to work under low light conditions.
Jobs on the Line | IMF | Acrylic | 21" x 31" | 2015
Cover for Finance & Development with a custom fold out flap. March 2015
Doctor
Vocational Training
Agricultural Worker
Port Worker
All images | Richard Downs © 2015 | International Monetary Fund © 2015
Step up to Steel
posted:
The Family | 18” x 8” x 3” Model | 1/2"=1' Scale

I am so inspired yet filled with middle of the night, “what’s the future” art dread. I think that deep down I knew that I was unconsciously moving on when I let my Agency Access subscription of client contacts lapse. I never really even used the list to any extent for years but it was something symbolic that I knew was there and it gave me comfort that I could call on it if I needed to connect.

 

I have had a nice career in Illustration at times with lots of success but simultaneously sprinkled with lots of failure and most often in the same week or month. This art roller coaster has been my life and my families and it is what I know and what we grew up together with. Since 2000 I have been straddling Illustration, galleries and education with flashes of marginal success bouncing around between all of them like a pinball machine. I purposely designed my career to service everything and at all times but after 30 years in the trenches maybe something has and should give? You always hear about illustrators and graphic designers moving into fine art but this really wasn’t my plan. I love illustration and every step of the process from start to finish but I haven’t been commissioned to do a commercial project in months. 

 

I think that it was the call that I received yesterday from a new gallery that has pushed me to spill my guts and my plan. I am also the guy who jumps the gun so… I may not be done yet!  :)

 

With all of that said, here is the design and the 1/2"=1' scale maquette for my first outdoor steel fabricated sculpture commission. I am now in a crash course learning about materials including plasma cutting, welding, chopping, grinding and ultimately site transportation and concrete pedestal installation. The final sculpture will be 9 feet tall and it has a Bay Area installation date of June 2015. Before our final construction I will be making a full scale cardboard model to be used as a template for all of my steel plasma cutting. The faces in the maquette will change a bit under client approval and the giant neck/stem and other details that are designed into the sketch will be worked out on the final full scale model. 

 

I would also like to announce my next solo show will be at the fabulous TEW Galleries in Atlanta. My work has found a nice home at TEW Galleries and I have been working really hard on a body of new work for the March 6th 2015 opening.

 

TEW Galleries

Richard Downs

February 27 - March 27 2015

 

This post is really about my new sculpture commission that is pushing me into new territory with material challenges and fabrication technology that will be learned as I go for it and I am honesty in complete artistic joy and the clients have been a dream to work with. I feel very lucky and appreciative of what is happening right now with my work and I hope that eventually it will rub off to my sleep.

The Family | 18” x 8” x 3” Model | 1/2"=1' Scale
The Family | 18” x 8” x 3” Model | 1/2"=1' Scale
The Family | 18” x 8” x 3” Model | 1/2"=1' Scale

Richard Downs | The Family

Corten Steel | 108" x 46" x 36" | Completion June 2015

 

Maquette for, “The Family”

 

Cardboard

Foam core

wooden skewers

mat board

hot glue

silver spray paint

ink jet prints
All images | Richard Downs © 2015

Struts through Time
posted:
Minotaur | Monotype | 12x15" image area 17x20" sheet size | Oil on Japanese Paper | 2014

Here are some new pieces from my "Swagger" series. This work is an extension of my "Getting Ready" series. All of this work is being considered for use in 2015 shows and the verdict is still out on a final home. When I think of swagger I cannot help but picture Robin Williams and Nathan Lane from the Birdcage.

 

My swagger pictures have far deeper roots with a heritage of thousands of years before John Wayne and Mick Jagger and I like to imagine lots of strut in our history. Here are a few that would have had the local paparazzi in a tizzy. 

Neferneferuaten Nefertiti | Monotype | 12x15" image area 17x20" sheet size | Oil on Japanese Paper | 2014
Icarus | Monotype | 12x15" image area 17x20" sheet size | Oil on Japanese Paper | 2014
 
 

All images | Richard Downs © 2014

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