Art Asylum: Landon, tell us about yourself, where do you live, your lifestyle/background?

Landon: I am twenty-five and currently live in Boston where I’ve lived that past six years. I grew up in Sarasota, Florida and was raised by a well-to-do business orientated family with none of them possessing an artistic bone in their body. Their thing was furniture sales.

My childhood was really turbulent. My first memory was a kid in pre-school throwing a block at my face, which cracked open my eyebrow. It was like that growing up for me. At school I was picked on and at home I was misunderstood by my parents. I felt really alone and it caused me to stay stuck in my imagination, which had always been rampant. I remember in elementary school, I would get so into daydreaming that I would make the dramatic movements I was imagining.

I had those moments all artists growing up probably have; I would be drawing during class when the teacher would come and crumble up my drawing, and then throw it away. Then, when their back was turned, I would sneak it out of the trash, smooth it out, and get back to work on it.

During high school, I was really troubled and didn’t really have any friends. I just spent long stretches alone playing video games. I never felt comfortable around people, and my parents doped me up on all sorts of different medications which made I spend my teenage years in a medicated emotional coma.

When college rolled around, I wanted to get away from Florida so I moved to Boston. I bounced around but ultimately didn’t stick to any of the three schools I attended. I jumped from music, to journalism, to graphic design, to fine arts but it all didn’t feel right. Despite the fact I was always making art, I felt without purpose and lost.

Then in the summer of ’08, I had this friend (who ended up being schizophrenic) that lived with me over the summer, and he sold prints of his art on the streets. I never showed my art to that many people, but he urged me to join him. It started out slow, but my art quickly caught on and I found that I made something people could connect with. It was definitely a step in the right direction for me as an artist. When I started selling art on the street, it really broke me out of my shell and I found for the first time I could feel comfortable around people. When my parents found out I was making money off my art, they became very supportive. Through all I went through to get here, where I’m at now, art really saved my life, or more so gave me one.

I’ve been selling art on Newbury Street for a year now on this slab of concrete affectionally called “the slab.” I have had the wonderful fortune of being able to talk to all sorts of people, hear all their stories, and share a moment with them where we wipe away the bullshit with nothing to hide.

Art Asylum: What was it about art that gained your interest?

Landon: I don’t what initially sparked my interest. I’ve been drawing since I could remember. It wasn’t like one day I picked up the pencil and thought “I like drawing”. It’s just something I’ve always did, and it’s been the only thing that really made sense to me. In kinder garden I watched a lot of Godzilla, Jaws, and Superman and I would do violent drawings of one of the three mercilessly destroying cities. I started questioning and recreating what society looked like to me really early on, but my teachers were awfully worried about me. I was just excited by my imagination and really curious about the world, which ended up causing me lots of trouble.

Art Asylum: Are you self taught or did you attend school?

Landon: I was mostly self taught. All my attempts at taking art classes didn’t go well. I was either kicked out, argued with the teachers, or just stop showing up. My biggest problem with art school was that it seemed like they wanted to knock down all that I figured out myself and rebuild from the ground up. The only portfolio review I ever did, the professor literally said to me “Stop resisting.” It’s hard to find art teachers that want to nurture what you have already, rather than build you up to their expectations. So, I had to figure it out on my own. I seem to learn best that way.

Art Asylum: If you had to describe your artistic style to a blind person in one sentence, what would it be?

Landon: It depends if that person was born blind or not. No use explaining green to someone that doesn’t know what green looks like. For someone who wasn’t always blind, I would say my style is simply a mess. It’s dirty, raw, and honest. For someone always blind, I would say I’m trying to reach hope through facing the darkness. Maybe they both mean the same thing, I don’t know.

Art Asylum: How did you come up with your specific style of painting?

Landon: As simply as I can say it, painting what I felt. I’m pretty sure I am an over emotional person and to deal with it, I just pour it out through painting. I’m just lucky enough to have been drawing so long that I can make something that visually makes sense.

Art Asylum: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Landon: Determined.

Art Asylum: What is your process when creating a piece, do you just freestyle it or sketch it out and go from there?

Landon: Depends, sometimes I sketch it out on pencil, while other times I just splash some paint on, but it’s always a building process. At any given point, I am not really sure what I am doing, so I am in the constant state of trying to figure things out. I’m always following my intuition, which at times can make a painting really easy or really hard. Emotional state plays a big role too. Under extreme intensity, I can finish a painting in 4 hours that usually takes me a couple days.

Art Asylum: What motivates you to make work and stay focused while working on a piece?

Landon: First and foremost, a feeling of purpose and the NEED to create. I’m blessed to have such a feeling. Every time I make a good line, mix the right color, or make the good kind of accident, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of love. Then the feeling of release when I finish a piece and being able to share the result. It’s nice to be able to connect to people that way. Marking art is what I want to do for my career and I really feel that if I am not working my ass off on this, I’m kidding myself and I feel restless.

Art Asylum: What is your philosophy as an artist?

Landon: There are no mistakes, only things I like and things I don’t like. If I don’t like something, I just keep working on it till I like it. To me, that’s freedom.

Art Asylum: Is this your full time job, if not what else pays the bills? How long have you been painting?

Landon: Well, I sell my framed prints and shirts on Newbury Street 5 days a week, about 30 hours. To keep up with demand, I am constantly evaluating my inventory, such as keeping track of the numbers, reordering frames, shirts, and prints. In Addition to organizing shows, connections, answering emails, and making phone calls. Then the actual painting and the t-shirt design. Then I work at a gym about 15-20 hours a week. So, usually my workdays are 7 days a week, sometimes from when I’m up till I go to sleep. I also hate sleeping, so it gives me more time to do what I need to. I usually love every minute of it, but it has its moments of crappiness.

Art Asylum: How often do you paint? How long does it take to complete a piece?

Landon: Every day unless I’m under emotional shit that makes me to stressed or depressed to paint. It usually takes me about 2 days to finish a painting, due to large stretches of time being completely unsure on what to do.

Art Asylum: Give me three adjectives you would use to describe your work to somebody who isn’t familiar with it:

Landon: I guess I would use the same adjectives I would tell a newly blind person, it’s dirty, raw, and honest. However, I hear a lot people say creepy, morbid, and weird.

Art Asylum: Do you go about naming a particular piece, are the paintings based around a concept or the concept based on the paintings? Which originates first?

Landon: Usually it just hits me, sometimes in the beginning, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes at the end of the piece. Sometimes I finish the painting, but have to think for a while just what to call it. Titles are very important with my work, and I very often include them within the painting. They help add depth to what it is I’m trying to say or ask, add direction, and help me understand just what it is I painted. People who say titles shouldn’t matter should go fuck themselves. It’s something I’ve done since high school. I use to write a lot of lame-ass poetry and it kind of snuck its way into my art.

Art Asylum: What is your life long goal for your artistic career?

Landon: Well, first and foremost, to keep painting and not have to do any other kind of job. On the street where I sell my art, I would like to open a store one day where I could sell prints and t-shirts of my art along with other worthy artist, do commissions, and have occasional art shows. Traveling the world with my art would also be nice.

Art Asylum: Has any one artist in particular influenced your style or overall creative process?

Landon: A couple, the first was Ralph Steadman. By my nature, I’m a very messy person and all my life people have tried to correct that. His art showed me it’s ok to be messy. Alex Pardee has also been a pretty big influence; a lot of my understanding of color came from studying his work. But it’s his line work that really inspired me. I love lines, and Jesus, his lines are inhuman. Finally, Michelangelo inspired me with his sheer devotion to art. That guy would paint until he couldn’t anymore, pass out in the clothes and boots he was wearing, then wake up and get back to work.

Art Asylum: On a more personal note, Do you have any crazy or funny stories about your experiences as an artist?

Selling art on the street has allowed me to talk to all sorts of people, and a lot of crazy shit happens. Once, there was this old guy who came up to my set up, leaned in real close, shifted his narrowed eyes back and forth, and whispered to me that he was an android. He then pulled out this tattered video game magazine from his lime green trench coat and proceeded to tell me how his magazine explained it all. I don’t think he knew what video games were. Afterwards, he pulled out a folder and showed me all these emails he wrote in this nonsensical code to MIT professors. It was pretty funny, because this old guy was all into this. He also ended up buying some of my art, so I can officially state for the record that an android owns some of my art.

Then there was this one guy who shuffled up one day. It looked like he had trouble moving and speaking, like it took a lot of concretion to do either. He looked at my art for a while, then slowly moved his eyes up and stuttered thank you. I replied with a thank you, and he staggered up beside me and I asked him how he was doing. He told me he was blind in one eye, and my curious nature caused me to ask him what that was like, and if it was something you get use to.

He looked at me for a moment, and I just started nodding sympathetically to him knowing what was about to come. He started to cry and said “No, you never get use to it. I got shot in the back of the head.” I gave him a free framed print, and a hug. It seemed to make him happy, and its moments like that where I really do my job as an artist.

Art Asylum: What is your favorite medium to work with? Is there a medium you are interested in experimenting with?

Landon: It’s a toss up between ink, acrylic, and watercolor. I love how I can work them, whether it is layering color or making lines. I also love the way it looks when I accidently get it on my hands. When I look down and see paint all over my hands, I feel like a better person. I would love to get more into oils, but as messy as I am with paint, I don’t know how good that would be for my health.

Art Asylum: All your paintings seem so meaningful, as if there is a piece of you or your emotion in it is it hard to part with them?

Landon: Most of them, no. I’ve given up my attachment to things like that, and as a working artist you need to be able to make money off your art. However, there are two paintings I know I will never sell. I cannot sell my broken heart.

Art Asylum: Your art provokes people to think about the situation or statement you depict in your pieces, do you consider your audience when creating a piece?

Landon: Well, I figure we’re not alone in being alone, so yes. Besides, making art that people can’t connect with or understand is a wee bit selfish.

Art Asylum: What do you want people to walk away with after looking at your paintings? Does it matter to you?

Landon: I just want them to ask a question to themselves, whether about themselves personally or the world around them. Does it matter to me? Well I guess so; if they don’t then I don’t think I did my job right.

Art Asylum: Do you see your art work drastically changing in the future?

Landon: For me, every painting is an experiment with unforeseeable results. Through nonstop experimentation, it naturally causes an evolution. Also, it keeps it exciting.

Art Asylum: Tell us a story that might be interesting, or relate to your growth as an artist or as a human being (as if there’s a way to separate the two).

Landon: The biggest growth I have achieved as an artist is romantic in nature, because deep down I’m a romantic. I had been selling my art for about two months and was getting some success, but it didn’t make me fully believe in myself as an artist. I then met this girl and had her over one night. When I showed her my work, she touched one of my paintings, and suddenly something inside me exploded. This switched turned on, and I was ready to push my art as hard as I could. I also fell in love with her.We had our time. Things don’t always work out, even if they make sense for a little bit. Wanting something to last forever sometimes blinds you from the fact hat nothing does. Its all pretty recent, and I’m still carrying the weight.

Art Asylum: What’s in store this year for you and what can we expect to see? Any gallery shows, print releases, etc?

Landon: Well, I do 1-2 paintings a week and always make 8.5×11 framed prints of them which I sell for 10 dollars on Newbury Street. I just did a run of two new t-shirts, and will probably do more later this summer. I plan to eventually get some 18×24 limited glicee prints made. I also sent about 300 submissions to galleries across the world, and so far have been lucky enough to receive 5 rejections and 8 mailer daemons telling me my email didn’t go through. So, we’ll see about the gallery shows. In the meanwhile, I guess I’ll just keep doing cafe and music venue shows, and selling art on the street in Boston.

Thanks – Landon


2 Responses to “Landon Richmond”

  1. 1 Nancy
    August 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    The paintings are great! I’m reminded of Munch’s “Scream” and Goya’s “The Third of May” and “Saturn Devouring his Son”. Keep on painting.

  2. 2 christina marie
    November 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    u are beautiful. ur work is incredible powerful and amazing please keep painting my sons name is landon and i was looking for an artist named landon to show him what other people with the name landon have done and ur work is important for him to see. thank u

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