Richard J. Oliver was born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1975. He holds an honorary degree in Fine Art from the University of West of England and undertaking a Masters in Fine Art UWIC Wales. Currently paints and resides in Los Angeles, CA. Solo exhibitions include Museum of Modern Art - Wales, Attic Gallery - Swansea and a permanent mural in Rhondda Heritage Park. Mixed exhibitions worldwide including London, New York and most recently Los Angeles. Paintings currently hang in museums, on public display throughout the UK and in the collections of private clients worldwide. Richard is also a member of the internationally platinum-selling rock band 'Lostprophets' who are about to release their 5th studio record and have toured the world for the past 12 years.
"Though the subject of my work has no direct relation with the music my band creates, I believe it is born of the same crop and has the same underlying themes and drive. My work was a response to the difficulty of self identification in a post industrial Wales. It reflected the problem of self value and worth in a new non self sufficient country where every corner and horizon echoed the past yet every TV and computer pointed forward. The youth of my generation were born into the void left over in a post industrial country and patriotic pride was hard to come by. So even though my images were not relevant to the lyrical and musical content of Lostprophets, the core inspiration was, e.g. drive to achieve, stepping above and beyond, waking up to your own potential, and doing something with your life were all Lostprophets anthem calls.
To summarize, my work didn't directly or visually represent the underground hardcore metal scene of the day but it was born out of the same rebellion against complacency and apathy that was inbred being brought up in a very grey poor town.
My art has been and continues to be a report on culture and society and shows the more honest side of these crutches that our humanity relies on. I believe therefore my work has more in common with the folk songwriters and is born of a very old tradition of story telling and prose from Celtic mythology such as the Mabinogion. Some comparisons of my works have been with Irish folk songs and the political and social commentary of artists like Bob Dylan.
My current work isn't as locally subjective as it once was. I believed at one time that I could only paint about what I knew and was intimate with, which was Wales and its people. Having spent the better part of this decade traveling the world I believe now that I am qualified to speak of broader issues and paint things I have experienced, maybe not in the same way as the locals to these areas have experienced but through the eyes of a visitor and yet maintain legitimacy in my expression. The works I have completed while living in California have been quite different to my Welsh Paintings. Mainly in the way the characters relate to their surroundings. In my Welsh paintings the figures and the backgrounds are treated the same and almost meld into one another, as is the case in reality where the generations still live in the same village for centuries. In my recent works in Los Angeles the opposite is true. The figures are detached from their environment both aesthetically and physically because of the nature of the city where the majority of the population come from other places. The Los Angeles I have experienced is a cultural smorgasbord set in an eclectic urban environment.
Since the birth of my son I have also explored ideas in my work that touch upon the anxieties of raising a child in an environment that I believe is on the brink of disaster due to the greed and ignorant over consumption of the planets resources, by us, it's exploding populace of dependents. The images touch on the tragedy of children forced to survive in an apocalyptic environment and violently fend for themselves, an idea the tears at the heart of the natural instincts of fatherhood and the impotence of family protection."