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Richard Lipke – Artist Statement
Richard began his artistic journey in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and started drawing before age 12 using old paper window shades to have a larger canvas. He was also playing some serious guitar at a young age. Richard left Kenosha for the wilds, west of Madison, meanwhile painting all the time and showing around Wisconsin. In 1982 he headed west in a $300 pickup truck and ended up on the Vashon Dock, trying to find the one person he knew in the Northwest, Cleatus Goldman.
Richard did find Cleatus after a night spent in the Dockton parking lot and thus began his artistic and community life on Vashon. He has shown his art on Vashon, at the Blue Heron, Sound Food, Cafe Luna, and most recently at Sugar Shack. He also sells directly from his studio. A painting of Richard’s became the poster and symbol for “Catch Us While Your Can”, a visual and performing art show at O Space. That image and three others were bought by a woman in a religious group who spoke in tongues and decided Richard’s work “touched God”.
Like many artists, he has worked to support his art: at the Vashon Children’s Center, Irene”s Tiles, and as business manager of Granny’s Attic.
Richard’s previous artwork was meticulously geometric, as well as meditative. He has radically changed his style in the last year to Abstract Expressionism. Richard is compelled by color, form and spontaneity. The virus has pushed him to work even harder, creating 34 paintings since October. He noted that in one painting done in March he could see the “Covid fear reflected in it”. Richard enjoys working big, some works are as large as 52”x 42”. A long way from paper window shades!