Portfolio

Rich’s portfolio showcases various works in his genre of Socio-Political Abstractionism. If your organization has any interest in exhibiting any of his works free of charge, please contact Rich using the form on his Contact page.  If you wish to purchase any of Rich’s works, that’s more complicated, so please see the For Sale page.


Hopefully you have already seen Rich’s Home page, About Me page and About SPA page to see a brief description of Rich’s work in the genre of Socio-Political Abstractionism (SPA) that he continues to develop.  Rich makes no claims of being qualified as an artist other than maintaining a “just do it” philosophy and a driving vision. What Rich does as a common man is to abstractually portray his dreams and his concerns for humanity. That is what you see here. If you appreciate Rich’s work, please spread the word. Finally, please appreciate that everything you say and do in life has an impact to others. Choose thoughtfully and wisely.


Full Circle:  An Identity Crisis

… work in progress, image will be added at a later date … not even the artist knows how this will end up yet … it’s back to the drawing board in late June, since the 24-inch size and layout just wasn’t working, so having a new 29-inch painting panel custom built … expected to be finished sometime in August … 

2020

Mixed Media Format, Acrylics on 29″ Diameter Round Cradled Birch Painting Panel

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

In the early 20th Century, many were concerned about the rise of nationalistic fascism, while many others supported it.  Sinclair Lewis in his novel “It Can’t Happen Here”, warned about the prospects of rising fascism in a fictitious story of the future set rather close to home, and he did so in 1935 as fascism was on the rise in Europe before World War 2.  Subsequently, the USA fought against fascism, and many sacrificed their lives in the cause.  Now, in the 21st Century, do we even know what fascism is, what its defining characteristics are, who its greatest supporters tend to be, and what it is against which we fought?  Would we recognize it if we stood face-to-face with it?  What would we see if we were to look into a mirror?  So now, many here and throughout the world are questioning who are we, what are we, in what do we believe and for what do we stand?  Are we heading halfway around a circle?  What then? 

Artist’s Note:  This work is mounted on a turntable, so that when hanging on a wall, the work can be rotated 180 degrees, or at any desired angle.   What is seen if the work is rotated or fully inverted?


Desperately Seeking Mister Rogers

SeekingMisterRogers

2020

Mixed Media Format, Acrylics on 24” x 36” Painting Panel with Wood Forms and Letters

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

We have had important issues facing us, including deficit spending like nothing in the past with crushing and rapidly-accelerating national debt to pass on to our children courtesy of the self-proclaimed “King of Debt”.  That was before the COVID-19 “coronavirus” impact, and is becoming worse as the country is led toward bankruptcy.  In light of those issues and other important issues facing us, do we really want to focus our limited resources on cruel anti-immigration practices, including family separations and locking up children in cages?  Even if so, is building a physical wall part of the answer? 

Instead, the artist questions whether we shouldn’t be bonding together with kindness and compassion as a bi-partisan effort to block the current rampage of anger, blame, resentment, hate and fear, embodied by Rage.  Instead of a “Keep Out” attitude that has raged on since 2016, perhaps we would well keep in mind the loving “Be My Neighbor” attitude that Mister Rogers had shared with us.  Did we ever have such an altruistic attitude, and if so, can we ever bring it back?  And if we never really had it, can we or should we seek it now?  

Artist’s Note:  How can a raging, unleashed and unbounded Rageosaurus Rex be stopped?  To use the now-infamous words, “Build the Wall”! 

There is much symbolism in this work that may go unnoticed unless the artist points it out.  As one example, the core of the wall is a wood known as purpleheart.  The artist is also aware that the current president had expressed a desire for a Purple Heart award, even though he had never served in the armed forces and certainly was never wounded in that capacity.  Nevertheless, he was given a Purple Heart award by an admirer who had earned it.  So here in this work, the face of the wall against Rage is unfinished, suggesting perhaps that in spite of rhetoric and chanting of slogans, along with the desire for acceptance and high ratings, Rage is really facing his own unfinished issues of questionable courage. 

On a different subject, similar to the reversal of the political parties around 1896 at the time of William Jennings Bryan, the parties have experienced another reversal since 2016, in which many so-called “conservatives” have favored extreme, radical, polarizing changes which have led to the current presidency, while many so-called “liberal progressives” now wish to return to things as they were before, perhaps with some enhancements, and that has been the subject of recent debate. 

While each of us is unique and needs to express ourself individually, perhaps what we need now is for people to unite in at least one sense, and that is to strive to return to a state-of-mind of kindness, respect, empathy and basic human decency in spite of our differing preferences and opinions.  That is the kind of wall we need to build to stop the current escalation of anger, resentment, hate and fear.  The artist suggests that such a wall against Rage needs bipartisan support (the Red and the Blue) to support and sustain it. 

Many of us desire to return to “A Beautiful Day in the Country”, and let me add that we should strive for “A Beautiful Day in the World” as well.  I would like to express my belated thanks and appreciation for the sayings and inspiration that Mister Rogers once gifted to us while his show “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” ran. These are things that we should not merely strive to remember, but that we can and should practice in our daily lives.  Here are just a few.  Please think about your own favorites.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

“Real strength has to do with helping others.”

“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

As the artist, I can offer no better advice.


The Circular Firing Squad

CircularFiringSquadRound

2020

Acrylics on 20″ Diameter Round Cradled Hardwood Painting Panel

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

As an alternative to “cannibalizing”, another way to express political allies criticizing and attacking one another instead of focusing on how to best defeat their opponent is to refer to a “circular firing squad”.  A different work by the artist, “The Blue Wave of 2020”, has many different variations of blue within the wave as an expression of the many diverse people and interests that will need to coalesce and work together cooperatively if they wish to form such a wave.  “The Circular Firing Squad”, in contrast, expresses an approach that has been used, that may inhibit or prevent “The Blue Wave of 2020” from forming.  Which approach will prevail in 2020?  Will any candidate have had sufficient emotional fortitude to consistently refuse to participate in “The Circular Firing Squad”?

Artist’s Note:  This work shows the various candidates, with one exception, firing upon one another in a counter-clockwise (and counter-productive) manner.  Not content to use dueling pistols or any conventional firearms, they seem to have been savagely attacking one another using flamethrowers of various types and sizes, such that whomever the “winner” may be might be so damaged as to be easy prey for their real opponent.  The arrangement is that of a standard 12-hour clock face, suggesting that time is of the essence in taking any corrective action.  Coincidentally (or not), news headlines have included “… Debate Will Have 12 Candidates …”. 

Much like the “Hurricane Generator” used in producing the artist’s work Maria, a device now known as the “Swirly-Thingy” was developed to produce the circular firing effect of this work.  However, not having worked as intended after two attempts, the “firing” has been manually touched-up.  The “Swirly-Thingy” will be modified in some way, then will live on to hopefully be used in any subsequent versions of this work … or some other work.  


The End of Democracy in the National Interest?

End of Democracy

2020

Acrylics on 20″ x 24″ Linen Canvas

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

This work is primarily four quadrants of different blacks, and is inspired by the impeachment events in the U.S. Senate in the period January 29-31, 2020.  What can the four quadrants signify? Is this work looking backward in terms of how we arrived here, or looking forward to what is to come?  Does any small glimmer of hope remain?  What can it all mean? 

Artist’s Note:  Many events led up to the impeachment process, and on January 29 it was argued on behalf of the president “’I think I’m the greatest president that ever was, and if I’m not elected, the national interest will suffer greatly.’ That cannot be an impeachable offense.” This was in the context of pressuring for foreign interference in U.S. elections. Once one believes in the acceptability of a “Quid Pro Quo” and foreign interference in U.S. elections, and even believes in the acceptability of lying and hiding evidence about it, then it is not a far reach to then believe that any form of election rigging or influencing by the government is alright so long as the president believes it is in the national interest. Then on January 31 it was decided by the U.S. Senate in a 51 to 49 vote to block witnesses and documents, so that a final impeachment vote would be based primarily on party lines and not on any newly-revealed facts and evidence. Interestingly enough, on the same day right after the vote to block witnesses and documents, the Department of Justice revealed that they were in fact withholding significant evidence in the form of relevant e-mails … and what else was being withheld so that the Senate could purposefully not make an informed decision and so that voters could not make informed voting decisions going forward?

Also, this work ties into the work “No Chaos”, and further reflects the campaign strategy and expectation that “we’ll govern for 50 years”.  How can such a thing be accomplished?  By the government’s control of information, of course, and by convincing enough voters to only believe the “truth” or “alternative facts” issued by the government administration, while scorning the free press and labeling them as “the enemy”.  While those in power can blithely say “Let the voters decide” as if they are all in favor of democracy while they block witnesses and documents from disclosure, the fact is that those who control the truth then control the voters and control the results of the elections.  That is how one party can strategize to remain in power for 50 years. Welcome to 1984, although a bit belatedly.  It’s dark.  Very dark.  


When Wisdom Fades as Knowledge Grows

WhenWisdomFades

2019

Acrylics on 20″ x 24″ Linen Canvas

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

Artist’s Note: The artist believes that this work is self-explanatory and does not provide a further description, other than to offer that the alternative titles (for possible future, similar works) are “50 Miles of Hate and Fear” or “Sorry, Accidents Happen”.  The artist points out that the work was finished before the events of January 2, 2020, and reminds the audience of the tweet “Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected — and as sure as you’re sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.” That was not true when tweeted back in 2011, but how about today?  The author of that tweet has clearly had this particular re-election strategy in his head for many years. 


 

The Blue Wave of 2020

BlueWave

2019

Acrylics on 20” x 24” Linen Canvas

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

This work does not advocate for any political party, but offers a prediction of how the voters may be expected to express their preferences in 2020, based on trends at the time the work was created.  The many different variations of blue within the wave is an expression of the many diverse people and interests that will need to coalesce, and work together cooperatively as opposed to criticizing and even attacking one another, to form such a wave.  What could the white possibly represent within the blue wave?


 

Out With the Old, In With the New

OutWithTheOld

2020

Acrylics on 24” x 36” Painting Panel and Wooden Forms

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

Most or all of us in the USA are descended from ancestors who were immigrants, or are immigrants themselves.  That statement allows for the debate of whether Native Americans weren’t in fact immigrants, but immigrants from a far earlier period. 

The Statue of Liberty, more formally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World”, was a gift of friendship from France, and has traditionally been seen as a welcoming symbol of liberty and freedom.  France also shares our colors of red, white and blue, and has shared the concepts of “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.  In the past few years, though, it seems that Liberty has been less enlightening and less welcoming to those entering the USA as her flame seems to be flickering out and up in smoke.  At the same time, the country itself has become ripped apart and splintered, and is now itself in flames. The concept of fraternity now only applies to some, and as for equality, in Orwell’s terms let’s just say that some have become more equal than others.  We have a choice as we proceed into the future.  Will we maintain the course set in the past few years, reverse our course, or choose some other direction?

Artist’s Note:  The artist took a 1/4-inch-thick wooden representation of the continental USA out to his backyard with a sledge hammer, worked himself up into a angry fervor of rage for no real reason at all (sound like anybody you know?), and … voilà, the country ended up smashed, ripped apart and splintered, much as what has happened to our actual country over the past few years.  Those pieces were then blackened and muddied (think allegorically here), affixed to a primed basswood painting panel, and the rest of the work was completed.  One might observe that the country … smashed, ripped apart, splintered and inflamed as it is … is hardly recognizable as it once was.  This work is extremely fragile and must be handled with great care, like the principles upon which the country was founded.


 

Don’t Think of It as Air Pollution and Global Warming … Think of It as New Real Estate Opportunities!

GlobalWarming

2019

Acrylics on 24” x 36” Painting Panel and Wooden Forms

Currently Priced at: Not for Sale (NFS)

Today we find many who deny climate change, in spite of scientific evidence including time-lapse satellite imaging.  Some even promote greater pollution for the sake of … what?  Attempting to maybe push the economy momentarily higher even a miniscule amount for political gain in spite of the costs to ourselves and even higher costs to future generations?  Making even more money for the already-wealthy?  Wouldn’t it be great to buy Greenland and then watch its ice sheet continue to melt as money is made off its newly-expanded real estate market?  What an idea!  Next, Antarctica will be the next money-making opportunity!  Too bad about the health effects of the air and other aspects of the environment, and about the existing coastal areas that will flood more-and-more, but think of the new money-making opportunities that will arise for those who have the money to profit further!

Artists Note:  The remaining, disappearing ice in Greenland and Antarctica at some point in the future is represented in part by how the artist sees the color “glacier blue” in his imagination.  


All Together Now …

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, Into the Swamp We Go …

 

2019

3-D Mixed Media, Including Acrylics on 24” x 36” Painting Panel … and more

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

The characteristics of the new swamp are very dark, easily seen by some, but not by others, and have not historically been associated with any political party.  The sing-songiness of the title, adapted from the “Heigh-Ho” work song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, might reflect a childish naiveté of certain voters in thinking that the behavior of a president would be different than his behavior as a candidate, or that such behavior is fine, appropriate and not of adverse consequence.  These characteristics, some of which used to be seen as immoral and unacceptable behavior, and all of which can lead to our decline, have gained some acceptance as a new vote-getting norm by many, and have recently been spreading among our politicians.  As a result, insulting, belittling and accusing those who have different opinions, different beliefs or different preferences from ourselves have become more commonplace in politics, drifting over to society in general.  Do we really want to travel along this path of angry disrespect for one another? The Electoral College members (as opposed to the voting majority) decided the fate of all of us together in 2016, and those in all political parties who oppose that particular fate will need to work smarter in 2020.  So now, we find that the country is in flames, the blue states and red states alike. All together now in 2020, we can rise from the swamp or grind further into the swamp.  Which course will we choose to take? 

Artists Note:  Although the original intent was to keep this as a surprise for demonstration purpose if-and-when this piece is ever selected for exhibition, the artist has arranged for the country to actually grind further into the swamp before it rises again … or it can only rise from the swamp upon specific request … let’s just say this piece was designed, engineered and constructed over an extended period of time, and the painting of it was purely secondary.

An image of “All Together Now … Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, Into the Swamp We Go” is included in Murze Magazine, Issue Ten, page 31 of “Double Vision” section, issued February 5, 2020.  With Murze being a British publication  based in London, and distributed internationally, this represents the first international recognition of the artist and his art genre of Socio-Political Abstractionism.   

… and by popular demand, a video is included here to show the country sinking into the swamp under the current administration.  You may even see a little shuddering as it does.  Please be patient, as the country sinks slowly and tilts a little further to the right toward the end of the descent.

… and for those of you who just can’t get enough of this, you can watch the country rising back up out of the swamp (how will we as voters accomplish this?).  The artist points out that he is not advocating for any political party through this work, but does advocate that voters should keep in mind casting their votes as they see fit to raise the country back into a state of human decency, regardless of political preference. 


The Heart of the Presidency

HeartReducedGlare

2019

Mixed Media, Acrylics on 24” x 36” Basswood Painting Panel with Hollow Wooden Heart

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

This heart is black, wooden, hollow, and ensnared in barbed wire.  The black and red around the heart, almost obliterating the light blue background, suggest … what? Like all of the artist’s work in Socio-Political Abstractionism, it is hoped that this work will inspire debate by the sharing of feelings, opinions and interpretations. 

Artist’s Note:  This work reflects the artist’s concerns regarding children held in cages for indefinite periods, family separations to the point of even losing track of family members, and so on.  More importantly … what does it mean to you?  


Swamp Monsters

2018

Mixed Media Format, Acrylics on 30” x 40” Basswood Painting Panel with Wood Letters and Rectangles, with Dynamite Fuses of Red, White and Blue Twine

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

Far from the swamp being drained, the new swamp contains monsters more hideous and more dark than ever seen before in any previous presidential administration’s swamp.   Some people may have difficulty in seeing the monsters lurking in the swamp, while others may see them very clearly and distinctly.  The swamp gases being produced are highly explosive, and we wait to see which person or event will set off a disaster.

Artist’s Note: Extra credit to anyone who remembers the “Melanie” tweet. The artist still wonders how well Melania responded.  Also, the artist notes the he avoids using actual names in his works or descriptions.  Of necessity, and since the names are publicly known and in the news, this work is an exception to the rule.

Image of “Swamp Monsters” is included in Salann Magazine, Volume 1; please see page 228.


The Top Topples

 

2018

Mixed Media Format, Acrylics on 30” x 40” Linen Canvas with Iconic Souvenirs

(Including Fake Nobel Peace Prize Commemorative Coin and Gag Coins)

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

One of the roles of an artist, if so inclined, is to see forward and paint visions of the future before they occur. The Top Topples is such a work,  created as a vision of a future event. The proud colors of the USA, once solid as granite, are now muddled together as a distasteful grey by diversion and division. When an explosive eruption occurs, the date to be determined in the future, icons of the current presidency will tumble to the right. This work was previously selected for the TAG Gallery 2019 LA Open exhibition.


Maria

2017

Acrylics on 30” x 40” Linen Canvas

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

This piece expresses the bloodshed, losses and sorrows … and perhaps more than that … of the people of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Maria, and mourns for the slowness and politicization of the relief efforts.  As people were dying, a presidential cabinet member referred to the relief efforts as “a good news story”, inspiring a backlash.  The artist poses the question of whether the current administration’s efforts weren’t too little, too late, and to what extent the President and his cabinet feel connected to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as Americans, specifically U.S. citizens. Maria has previously been selected for the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild “Connections” exhibition at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.

Artist’s Note:  To achieve the swirling hurricane effect, the artist created a device he calls a “hurricane generator”, and then needed to experiment with it to create the hurricane effect that he desired for this work.  

Image of “Maria” is included in Salann Magazine, Volume 1; please see pages 52-53 and 228.


Smear Campaign

 

2018

Acrylics on 30” x 40” Linen Canvas

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

The artist recalls when he was a child that politicians would respectfully debate issues (think of Kennedy and Nixon). Now, victory seems to go to the candidate who smears the opposition most convincingly (and most falsely), so that the real issues are not what swing the election, or in some cases are not discussed at all in campaign ads. Is this the doing of the politicians, or the voters? What have we done to our country and ourselves by rewarding those who sink the lowest?

Artist’s Note: This work was inspired not only by the 2016 presidential campaigns but more specifically by certain campaigning in the San Diego region. However, the issue is universal.

Image of “Smear Campaign” is included in Salann Magazine, Volume 1; please see page 228.


 

Blue Period – III

 

2019

Acrylics on  24 x 36 Linen Canvas with Wooden Form

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

The country has endured much through the 2016 presidential campaign, the loss of the candidate with the majority vote and the success of the candidate who won through the process of the Electoral College. And so it goes, that the People of the United States as a whole do not elect the President and Vice President, but the members of the Electoral College do. In the past, we have seen that while many people are disappointed when their candidate of choice is not elected, that is where it stops … disappointment, yet we pull together as a nation. It is different this time.

Most of us have experienced heartbreak during our lives and gone through “blue periods”. Usually, we are able to heal and carry on. But as a nation, our heart is ripped apart so badly that we must question, will the heart of the nation be able to heal from all of the events of the past few years as an individual’s heart might?

Image of “Blue Period” is planned to be included in Salann Magazine, Volume 2.


What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?

 

2017

Acrylics on 40” x 40” Cotton Canvas, Mixed Media Format with 3½-Inch Wooden Ball

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

“What the Hell do you have to lose?” was asked to a group of voters by one of the presidential candidates during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in regard to casting their votes for him. Although the implication was “Nothing” and that people should be ungrateful for what they have and how little they have, this work portrays the Earth being swallowed into the depths of Hell and answers the question: “Everything”.

Image of “What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?” is included in Salann Magazine, Volume 1; please see page 228.


What Do You Have to Lose?

2017

Acrylics on 40” x 40” Cotton Canvas, Mixed Media Format with 3½-Inch Wooden Ball

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

Developed before the similar work “What the Hell do you have to lose?”, the question “What do you have to lose?”  was also asked to a group of voters by one of the presidential candidates during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in regard to casting their votes for him. Although the implication was “Nothing” and that people should be ungrateful for what they have and how little they have, this work portrays a poor use of decision-making by those with their hands on the buttons of nuclear weaponry. Accordingly, the Earth is seen being swallowed into the depths of Infinity (or the Hands of God, if one prefers), lost forever, and answers the question: “Everything”.


Dare to Say ‘Diversity’

2017

Acrylics on 40” x 40” Cotton Canvas

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

According to news reports, at a meeting held on December 14, 2017 in Atlanta, the administration’s list of seven terms that were not to be used or at least to be avoided in the upcoming Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget were conveyed; the seven terms included “vulnerable”, “entitlement”, “diversity”, “transgender”, “fetus”, “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Imagine a branch of government under the current administration that operated based on science or evidence. This work, “Dare to Say ‘Diversity’”, encourages that we all (even government employees) speak freely about diversity and against hate, value one another as each being unique, stand up against authoritarianism, and dance together as if we were colors on a canvas.

Image of “Dare To Say ‘Diversity'” is included in Salann Magazine, Volume 1; please see page 228.


No Chaos

2018

Acrylics on 30” x 40” Linen Canvas

Currently Priced at:  Not for Sale (NFS)

There is no chaos at the White House.  Right.  We heard it directly from the President, so it must at least be an “alternative fact”.  This work offers the artist’s impression of how that might look.

The artist agrees with those that suggest that chaos and crisis … invented or otherwise …  helps strongmen rise to power, and they in turn will perpetuate chaos and crisis to their own ends. Haven’t we learned from history that this does not end well? Does anyone recall the comment in 2016 that “darkness is good” and if coming to power, “we’ll govern for 50 years”? Why aren’t we all terrified?

Artist’s Note:  Contrary to what we hear often nowadays, big rallies with their showmanship and fan adoration, ratings, crowd size and winning are not everything; there is also truthfulness, human decency and caring about others (and please, continue this list with your thoughts).  Amazingly foretelling shortly before the 2016 presidential campaign was the film “Our Brand is Crisis”, which the artist recommends viewing at least once.  Do you see any similarities to the branding of the current administration?

Image of “No Chaos” is planned to be included in Salann Magazine, Volume 2.  


 

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