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Meet Richard J Oliver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard J Oliver.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in a small mining village in South Wales, UK. I studied Fine art at University and was undertaking my Masters when the musical band I was in started to get some recognition. Fast forward 12 years, a British number 1 record, arena tours, and multi-platinum sales our career was ended overnight by the actions of one man, the singer in the band. Along with a number of bandmates I had relocated to Los Angeles, a hub of the music industry, and had started a family.

Sadly the ripples of that man horrendous actions spread far and wide and our legacy which we had all made so many sacrifices to build, was erased. As a husband and father, I scrambled to provide for my family the only way I knew how that was making my paintings. Since 2012, I have been regrowing my career as an artist here in the States, and it has been quite a challenge.

Not solely because of the unstable economic climate leading up to the last elections but it continues to be difficult since art is a luxury item and under this current government experience tells me that people have tended to be more cautious with their spending. In addition, I feel what Carl Jung describes as the transition from 2nd archetype to the 3rd, Warrior to States person. I feel a subtle sense of knowing that giving is receiving and it is time to stop being selfish, egotistical and self-centered and think of ways to help those in need.

From this maturing vantage point, it is difficult to kindle the fire of competitiveness and put the same passion and energy into self-promotion that a younger more driven ‘warrior’ might. The third challenge and probably the greatest is to diligently raise a family, especially because both of my children have special needs. My eldest is diagnosed with Autism, and my youngest has a rare genetical condition called Williams Syndrome.

To juggle a career as an artist and give the effort and time it requires to grow synchronized with being a good husband and father is demanding both mentally and physically.

In order to care for my family, I have diligently focused on self-care as a practice and also managed to extend a number of attributes I learned being a stage performer to help others with their own self-care. To balance the lonely, isolated and introverted work of the artist I have become a group fitness instructor at 24 Hour fitness. It is a wonderful way to help others and be there in a hands-on way to see the fruits of coaching.

Unlike painting, coaching is a social activity and is great for my mental health as well as my aging physical body. Unlike Art, I see in others the effects and results of the coaching I do in the gym, and this has enabled me to be more playful with my paintings lately and not take the art too seriously. I have been guilty in the past of trying to better the world with each and every painting I make, and I now recognize the futility of this amateur desire.

The need for approval and validation is waining a little now that I have crested the zenith of my life. I have definitely meandered the journey to arrive where I am today and truly feel that balance is simply the conceptual mean line (as the crow flies) through all the twists and turns I have taken. One only finds balance in relation to falling from side to side, and this insight definitely softens the rocks and hard places I have and continue to bounce between.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
As a painter and artist, it is my personal interpretation of the world that sets me and my work apart from others. When it comes to seeing, interpreting and expressing the world around us, the artist themselves are the new and novel ingredient. How the person sees and responds to a scene or event, and the way that experience is translated is what sets all artists apart from each other and many other disciplines.

In a way, my limitations or failures to achieve what greater artists than I have created in paint is my unique language is my style. I have blended a formal education in fine art with a smorgasbord of techniques both new and old, learned from the library of the world wide web.

My work was recently described as ‘Pop Renaissance’ because of its contemporary pop culture references and lowbrow cartoon-like qualities mixed with a very traditional technique of grisaille underpainting and glazing which was developed by the Renaissance artists.

As an artist, the proudest point in my career was having a solo show at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in my home country, Wales.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I started over I would hope metaphorically I could pay more attention to the wonderful things in my garden and tend to my plot without wasting so much time looking over the fence at the greener grass of those around me. I think we often try to mimic others paths to success and adopt formula thinking it will lead to happiness, but I now feel that the true path is authenticity with all its dips and crests.

We often spend too much time wanting what others have, more flowers or a larger plot and all the while our garden grows over with weeds. I now believe that happiness is a byproduct of time well spent doing a job as well as one can. Happiness is an extension of contentment and success should be measured by how well one sleeps at night and not how big the bank balance is.

A healthy focus on doing whatever one does, to the best of their ability, will lead directly to a sense of achievement however large or small, and that satisfaction is what brings gratification and true wealth.

“The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come. The professional is sly. He knows that by toiling beside the front door of technique, he leaves room for genius to enter by the back.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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