The world of art is fantastic in that its practitioners can enter the industry at almost any age (something which we are tackling in our blog next month). Many artists, no matter how talented, often abandon their skill for fear of being unable to make a true career in the world – something which we aim to help tackle with our online art gallery platform!
Richard Young is one of these artists. Although his skill was apparent from an early age, it wasn’t until after pursuing a career in engineering that he decided to explore his talent once more. And the team at Art2Arts, as well as our customers, are very happy he did!
Here we talked to Richard to learn more about his personal journey into the world of art once more:
‘Sultry Dancer’- View it online.
You have practiced art from a young age, gaining success and media publicity. Yet, you chose to study engineering. Why did you make this decision?
I was financially driven at the time when I decided to study engineering. I had no career advice or guidance in school or college so did not believe that I could earn a living as an artist. Working for myself and selling directly to the public, or via a gallery, didn’t even cross my mind. It’s one of only a few decisions that I seriously regret.
Do you think a formal training in art is necessary to become a professional artist?
No. I didn’t have any formal art training. I had guidance, but with practice and self-teaching, I succeeded in developing my own style, technique and niche market.
With your engineering degree and while working as a design consultant, you spent time working in the Middle East. Did these experiences influence your artistic creations today?
Yes, tremendously. I think that working within engineering in the Middle East gave me the time to develop my own style and allowed me to practice. Especially to produce intricate art using a knife. I didn’t need to generate revenue when I started painting as it was purely a hobby. The subject matter, style and technique I have has changed a lot and sort of evolved. It’s a modern type of realism. It took me a couple of years and a lot of effort to develop that.
Then there is the engineer side of me that wants my art to be anatomically correct and accurate as I pay attention to the finest detail. Also, being a manager in a company, I know how to administer the business side of my work, representing myself as a company rather than an artist. When I started painting I did a few Middle East inspired paintings such as belly dancers, falcons and camels in desert scenes.
‘Arabian Coffee Awakes’ – View it online.
Once passionate about art, as you were when you are young, did this passion continue through adulthood? Did you ever stop painting while you pursued another career?
I stopped painting from aged 21 until I was 41. I had a long break and took up painting when I had to give up playing competitive squash.
Although you studied engineering, did you ever feel as if you would one day work within the world of art?
No. Never. I actually forgot about art when I walked away from it! Starting again was never planned and a last minute knee jerk decision.
Your work is mainly focussed around dynamic dancers now – what other subjects have you been fascinated by throughout your artistic career?
Subjects that I find fascinating are horses, birds, musicians, and portraits; that’s in terms of what I like to create. For viewing I have an extremely broad spectrum, as I also like landscapes, seascapes and still life.
‘Solo Flamenco Dancer’ – View it online
And when did the dancers become the main subject?
In 2006. Passion of Dance was my first dancer. I often call it my ‘one hit wonder’, as it’s still my lost popular in terms of merchandising.
Do you ever feel drawn to painting landscapes or abstract pieces?
You also say you are enamoured by light, and this shows through in your work. Why do you love dramatic lighting?
Dramatic lighting adds atmosphere and extra dimension to the subject. It gives you more to think about and makes the painting deeper and more dramatic. It enhances the passion in the subject also… Most photographers use fill in lighting on the opposite side to the main light source and I find it so distracting!
‘Bellydance of the Pyramids’ – View it online.
Your impressive work is created using a knife – when did you start using this technique and why?
It was 2005 when I first started painting with a knife. It took me about 2 years to get to a stage where I can show my art work. My first pieces of art with a knife were, let’s say, fun!
I also used to wear out 2 sable brushes for per painting. And I estimated a saving of 20% of the painting time just by using a knife that cleans easily between slight colour and shade variations. I was very driven by need to work within a timescale if I was to achieve commercial success.
Do you also collect art yourself? Is your personal preference the same as your style, or do you appreciate other kinds of art?
Yes I do collect art in a very small way. The spectrum is broader when I collect, however, my favourites are still figurative and in particular William Bouguereau’s. Oh to have an original. I wish…
Richard Young’s portfolio continues to amaze us, fascinated by the drama and details that each piece provides. View the rest of his work on his dedicated gallery section here.