Emotions – An Artist Statement

Omar Richardson is a Bahamian artist who has exhibited work in art galleries worldwide. Oh, and he’s also one of our newest team members, joining ChappellRoberts as an Art Director. We are so excited to hear about his new exhibit, which is on display now through April 30th, that features mixed media art inspired by life’s passions. Below, you can read his passionate artist statement.

In my series, I show portraits of people, depicting their life experiences. I give the portraits forms and shapes to express different emotions like despair, relief and hope. It shows the viewers how to look at different aspects of cultures with which they are not familiar and challenges them to react to them differently.

Also in this series, I study the Adinkra, which are symbols that were first used as decorative elements in one of the most highly valued, hand-printed and hand-embroidered cloths of West Africa. The printing process entails stamping one symbol at a time onto large sheets of cotton cloth. My work engages the space, so the viewer’s eye moves through the piece. It also creates an aesthetic mass of an object and forms that seem to float, giving different points of perspective.

As an artist, I think ahead by using not only my sight but my other senses as well in developing my thoughts. Paul Cezanne said: “To see things and your ideas as one has ‘seen’ them before, an artist can truly change the most basic conditions.” In my work, I reiterate some of the physical conditions of symbols and shapes and mentally manipulate the feeling of being someplace else. Visually, you’re seeing something other than what your eyes are showing you. My work also connects the expression of the subject to the viewer and the spiritual and emotional aspect of the project.

Whenever I begin to print, I dig down in my soul and my hidden secrets are revealed. The pictures of people frozen, doing things in their everyday life, or for a moment doing something different, is amazing. It is always art for me. It is something that moves me into a state of awe that inspires me to print. The little things such as people, expressing disapproval, or being overjoyed- to capture that in a photo is like capturing sunshine. Drawing humans is like printing life, and to capture life is a beautiful thing.

When nature is captured on a piece of paper, it is as if it is still alive. Every stroke from carving, every color that is added, brings such a touch of beauty and realism that forces me to admit, “Yes, these pictures are almost alive.”

I use photos in my mixed media prints to help me capture a piece of me, while showing the beauty of an image. In my artwork, I show that a printmaker can do more than just express himself through colors and form but through strong mark making!

What I bring to this art called printing is a splendor that I know is worthy to be looked at because I print what is in me, what I see from the eyes of my soul, what I know is part of us all… A reality, that when frozen on paper, can still be alive in the hearts of the souls who view it.

You can check out the exhibit for yourself Kotler Art Gallery at the Kotler Art Gallery, found inside the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa. A special reception for Omar’s exhibit will be held on April 1st at 2:00 p.m.

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