Q&A with British artist Richard Day - focuses on the relationship between colour, expression and movement

"Music takes me to another place; free from doubt, worry and frustration. A place that only exists for an instant, where I am completely lost in whatever sounds I am listening to- it’s a great feeling!"

Richard Day: Feel The Colors & Notes

Richard Day born in London, 1989 is a multi-disciplined artist and muralist based in Cambridge, England. His practice is based around the idea of process- more specifically how through the act of doing one can achieve a state of ‘flow’. In psychology ‘flow’ is described as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake… Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." This concept is what defines Richard’s work and drives him to find new processes and invent different tools and techniques to progress his practice.

Aesthetically Richard’s work is varies from figurative colorful paintings, to abstract monotone photography. Richard graduated from University Campus Suffolk in June 2014 after completing a degree in Fine Art. His work focuses on the relationship between colour, expression and movement; and how through the use of abstract lines and bold colour it is possible to create different ‘situations’ and ‘expressions’ within a piece of art. Richard’s work varies between the figurative and complete abstraction; his subjects include: friends, teachers, abstract ideas and music. Music has had a huge influence on Richard’s work: "To me music, like painting, is a universal language that speaks to every part of our being. Live music in particular has an unmistakable energy and aura, and it is this that I strive to capture in my 'Live' series of paintings". In addition to his ‘Live’ series of works, Richard is also working on his ‘Think Different’ series of paintings.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What experiences have triggered your ideas most?

I think music in general has had the biggest impact on my art. I’ve played the guitar from a young age and have been producing music for around seven years. For me it felt natural that my art should be linked to my music and vice versa.

How do you describe Richard Day artwork and philosophy?

I would describe my artwork as an ever-changing experiment of different ideas. When I first started to paint, my art was heavily based around music and the musicians I was inspired by. Lately my work has become less representational and more abstract, and I have become particularly interested in abstract photography.

"I think I miss the instrumentation the most. Now days a lot of music is made digitally, while this isn’t all bad, and has certainly given more people the opportunity to create music than ever before- which is great!" (Photo: Stephen Fry & Bob Dylan / Artwork by Richard Day)

How does music affect your mood and inspiration?

Wow, nice question! For me music is without a doubt the biggest thing in my life. And I think the main reason for that is it’s innate ability to change the state of the listener at any given time. Music takes me to another place; free from doubt, worry and frustration. A place that only exists for an instant, where I am completely lost in whatever sounds I am listening to- it’s a great feeling! To be honest it’s difficult for me to find the words to completely sum up how strongly music affects me, but this quote from Stephen Fry does a pretty good job.

“Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set on its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog's bollocks. Nothing else comes close.”- Stephen Fry

As for inspiration, I try my best to create my work without thinking/ worrying too much about the outcome- and I find that music helps me do that.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past?

I think I miss the instrumentation the most. Now days a lot of music is made digitally, while this isn’t all bad, and has certainly given more people the opportunity to create music than ever before- which is great! However a lot of the music made seems to me to be quite rigid and quite ‘samey’. I should say at this point that I am a fan of electronic music and produce a lot of it myself, but I think creating a song on a computer with digital synthesizers as apposed to recording instruments was always going to have this effect.

"I think music in general has had the biggest impact on my art. I’ve played the guitar from a young age and have been producing music for around seven years. For me it felt natural that my art should be linked to my music and vice versa." (Photo: B.B. King / Artwork by Richard Day)

How important was the Beat movement in your life and art?

To be honest I only started to read about the beat movement a few months ago when I was asked to paint two portraits of the beat poets Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. So I don’t believe it’s impacted my art at all.

Where would you really want to with a time machine and what memorabilia (books, records) would you put in?

My taste in music and books changes all the time but at the moment I would take the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson and anything written by Sam Harris. As for music it would be any Jazz hop or Liquid drum and bass playlist I could find on YouTube as well as some of John Frusciante’s early solo albums.

Do you have a dream project you'd most like to accomplish?

To be honest, no not really. I have been commissioned to paint a large sized mural in Chile which I am really excited about- and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Richard Day - official website

(Photo: Bob Marley & Salvador Dali / Artwork by Richard Day)

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