* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Richard Colman was born in 1976 and grew up in leafy Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. His childhood home looks a little bit like the terracotta brick houses in his more elaborate paintings, but the similarity is just a structural one; presumably, there wasn’t nearly as much sodomy and decapitation in his real home. Bethesda was a well-heeled place full of powerful people, but Richard spent much of his teenage years venturing into D.C. exploring, painting walls, and going to hardcore shows. Richard loved the presentable part of the city: the free museums, the monuments, and the energy of the locus of political power. But just as much, he became fascinated with the other D.C., a place that had nothing to do with government and would never draw tourists. Just as his paintings of houses look a little like his own, there was plenty to D.C. that lay under the surface.
Richard’s background in graffiti, while stylistically nearly irrelevant in terms of his art, is the kind of background that changes one’s perceptions of what is permanent and precious. Graffiti has every right to embrace vulnerability. Paint outdoors and you know full well your art will die, maybe before you can catch a photo in daylight, maybe in a few months, and definitely within a decade or two. Stylistically, though, graffiti is all cocksure attitude, bristling edges, and menace – strange for a medium so utterly fragile. Anyone with hundreds of graffiti paintings under their belt knows the strange feeling when they shift to fine art: it just feels weird knowing the work isn’t destined to die. Richard’s artwork isn’t going anywhere, with its nice archival paper and glass, but he’s imbued it with that vulnerability of impermanence.
In 1998, Richard left the D.C. area for Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, earning his degree in 2002. While learning the techniques that art schools like to force upon their students, he developed an appreciation for Renaissance-style portraiture as well as his fellow students
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