This month, Reading based artist Richard Young is exhibiting his work at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. “I always wanted to be an artist,” he says. “I did A Level art at school, two years ahead of time. I wanted to pursue a career in art but back then, it was harder to get your name ‘out there’, so instead I went into engineering and saw the world.”
Richard recently relocated to Reading from Saudi Arabia, where he met his partner, Sarah. “We were both out there working for an engineering company. An artisan at heart, I’d never given up on my dream of becoming an artist and I’d paint at night, experimenting with styles and techniques,” he says.
Richard sold his first painting in 2003. It was called ‘Introspection’. “It was an experiment with colour and light. I was heavily influenced by the desert at that time. Having someone buy my work motivated me to keep going,” he says.
“I never use a brush; I paint with a knife, often in a limited colour palette and mixing only on canvas. The style of my artwork is modern, yet classical/traditional and occasionally contemporary. My compositions entail dramatic lighting and shading, in a high contrast. I love light; I’m fascinated with its influence on any subject. Predominantly figurative, I aim to capture a composed aloof anonymity, mood, atmosphere, drama, passion and emotion of a performance in a frozen realism.”
Richard has painted principal ballerinas, such as Tamara
Rojo and Daria Klimentova. His painting, Subtle Confidence (top left), was a collaboration with Russian photographer Elena
Bembi. “The pose on one leg, the facial expression and the hands depict confidence,” he says. “It’s surprising how much a hand tells about an intention or a mood or an atmosphere. The lighting and colours are subtle, and the colour palette is intentionally limited.”
His most famous painting is
The Passion of Dance of Drew Jacoby (top right). “I could have sold this several times over!” he says. “There are prints in homes, bars, restaurants and hotels. I’ve also been sent photographs of it tattooed on several people!”
Richard is also working on a series of paintings of jazz musicians. He says: “There’s such soul in their performance, I’m trying to capture that. I’m on number four of six, and then I’ll be planning another exhibition.” So watch this space. See Richard’s work at the Royal Berkshire Hospital from 6 January − 24 February. ryoung-art.com
Freedom in Sax; and Introspection