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Jean Michel Was Here
Oil on canvasboard
13 x 18.5 inches
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City
How a sneaky three-year-old changed this award-winning artist’s entire career
For 35 years, Richard Hall enjoyed a successful career in fine art, using his talents to explore the opposing worlds of abstract art and traditional still life.
But chance intervened when a mischievous two-year-old added her two-cents worth to one of Richard’s still life settings, prompting Richard to see his work in an entirely new way.
An artist, inspired
The incident occurred in 2010 when Richard entered his home studio to find that his still life setup of vintage hand tools had been augmented with a plastic dump truck and driver by his young granddaughter, who had carefully placed the small toy in the thick of the scene.
Intrigued by the juxtaposition between the weathered tools and the bright plastic, Richard tinkered with the display until he got the idea for The Great Escape – wherein a brave dump truck driver starts a Rube Goldberge-esque process in motion to rescue his toolbox-imprisoned friends.
“My wife Sharon and I laughed the whole time I was designing the scene,” says Richard. “It was such fun to tell a story in this way.”
Breaking the rules
Since the artist was already “breaking the rules” for appropriate still life subject matter, Richard decided to step even further outside the genre by incorporating an abstract background. The artistic union was complete: still life precision, abstract art vibrancy, and Richard’s cheeky British humor – all in one painting.
Richard assumed that his collectors wouldn’t be interested in The Great Escape, fearing they would find the lighthearted subject matter to be frivolous. He was in for a surprise when the painting sold before the varnish was even dry.
Since this time, Richard has been delighting collectors nationwide who enjoy his masterful technique and laugh-out-loud wordplay.
“I’ve had people burst into tears when they see a painting that triggers a memory and also had people burst into laughter when they see the humor in an image,” Richard says. “Seeing people have such a personal reaction to the work are the best part of my career.”
Exhibitions: Richard is an award winning member of the Art Renewal Center, Oil Painters of America, and International Guild of Realism Painters and has exhibited in their group shows.
While his exhibitions are too numerous to list fully, among the largest are Los Angeles Artexpo, New York Artexpo, Tokyo International Art Show, Miami International Art Exposition, Art Asia Hong Kong, Art Detour and the Designers' Showcase House in Phoenix, Arizona and Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ.
Among Hall's enthusiasts are many corporate and public collectors, including:
Arizona Commission for the Arts - Phoenix, AZ Hyatt Regency - Denver, CO The Brayton International Collection - High Point, SC Hyatt Wiakalea - Wiakalea, HI Caesar's Lake Tahoe - Lake Tahoe, NV Ironhorse Golf Club - Whitefish, MT Christie's Contemporary Art - New York, NY Princess Cruise Ship Lines - Milano Discovery Land Company - San Francisco, CA Sunland Development - San Diego, CA Estancia Golf Club - Scottsdale, AZ Trump Taj Mahal & Trump Plaza - New York, NY Hughes Aircraft Corporation Headquarters - San Diego, CA Wardeh Gimtex - Saudi Arabia