March FEATURED Artist: Richard Shaffett
7 March, 2019
Richard Shaffett paints dreamy glazed acrylics which are full of light and energy, depicting the beauty of tropical islands and the sea. He is an American artist whose subjects are realistic scenes of nature, skies, boats and beaches.
Regarding his inspiration, he says ‘When I was a young boy, my family moved from our hometown of Baton Rouge, LA to Aruba. Being exposed to the island’s unique beauty and culture at such an early age had a profound effect on me, which I began to express through art.
The intention of his artwork is to give the viewer a positive experience. Whether it’s a peaceful sandy tropical scene, or a salty boat picture, he wants the viewer to be there, in a tropical paradise.
As a young artist, he developed his drawing and taught himself to use pastels. Continuing Into his young adult life, he joined the navy to see the world, but life on board ship didn’t allow him to paint, so he became proficient at ballpoint pen drawing. After naval service, he attended Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where he made his home, and for 25 years he worked in advertising art and as an architectural illustrator and mural painter. He painted for himself after hours and on weekends.
Richard’s paintings reflect a lifetime of constant observation and work using both in-person and photographic references, whether his own or from other sources. He uses elements from multiple photos to compose an image.
Being very respectful of copyright issues, he will usually significantly alter the main picture to avoid infringement.
For the rare occasion when a perfect scene presents itself, he will contact the photographer for permission. Once the idea is roughed out he will enlarge or reduce various elements and position then within the composition, which at this point is small, about 8”x 10” or so.
The next step is to do a line tracing of it, mount a copy of that onto a panel, and add the colors, noting each one. Then the tracing gets enlarged for the actual painting, where it is transferred to a primed panel. Richard glazes with acrylics on the smooth panel surface which allows for greater depth and subtle effects. Usually he just uses one color at a time over another, using different applications for certain effects
Regarding the meaning of art, he says ‘Instead of making a huge effort to understand a work of art that leaves us mystified, maybe we should analyse why we don’t understand or appreciate it, and learn from whatever answers arise. Nobody likes all art, but everybody likes some art. Done well or done badly, it is your art and you can’t escape it.’
We asked Richard, ‘What are your thoughts on the recent shredding of Banksy’s painting? What is your personal grasp of the message behind this act?’ He responded – I believe it was a publicity stunt to prove a point: that his art is not static, it can self-destruct and that is part of his creative process. The bidder didn’t pay just for the painting, he paid for the entire process.
Richard’s career has encompassed work for Disney, Cunard Lines, Chris-Craft, U.S. Homes, Taylor-Woodrow and Harcourt Brace, as well as many private commissions. His work is on the Island of Anguilla’s $1.00 postage stamp, and in the collections of José Feliciano, Gordon Lightfoot, and the Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, MS. It has sold in the USA and internationally and he is a signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA). Now retired from the advertising world, he is able to paint full-time and we think this artist is just hitting his prime.