Low-key and unseen Richard Hart takes up the habits of a ghost, often hiding for long periods of time in the dark. His pen to paper technique is much the same as he is, slow, precise and done with the elegance of a wraith as pen floats over page. At first we are unsure if he has placed anything on it at all and yet what he has left in these gentle seconds of intercourse is in fact a discourse. Easy clean lazy lines that look as if they have melodiously fallen from a can of pick-up-sticks and contain the wisdom of a sage, childish and complex. Richard takes the stick figure to its next step.
Scott H. Bourne - May 1st, Paris
LR: When did you start drawing?
RH: I've always drawn a lot. There are reams of paper at my Mum's from when i was little; the subject matter being largely pirate/ cowboy/ dinosaur -themed. Then a bit later I got into comics and started making my own little comics of superheroes I invented. Like Gecko-Man. But to get a bit more up to date, the first time i consciously bought some small drawing books to carry around with me was in Prague in 1999, during the Euro skate contest circuit of the time, where i was shooting pictures. I was getting really into doing quick drawings with one line; loose and fast. Since then, I have always had a drawing book to hand. They usually function as a sort of journal, albeit an encoded one.
LR: They first appeared in skateboard magazines together with your handwriting over your own photo's, right?
RH: The first drawings i actually had published and seen, were from those small books- the relevant drawings accompanying skate pictures for tour articles I did for magazines. To my surprise, most of the graphic designers I encountered were actually happy to have something other than just photo's and words to lay-out; an added design element I suppose. I also had a couple of drawings on T-shirts here and there (Document mag, NC clothing, Element, Carhartt), and I just did a guest-artist board for Magenta.
LR: What is the starting point of the drawings you are doing now?
RH: For years, most of the drawings were confined to little pages, in pen. These days they are somewhat larger and involve ink painted on with brushes, as well as the trusty pen. And whereas before, I would sometimes have captions (of sorts) on there, the text is now getting all up in the mix. To the point where it's barely legible.
LR: I think the drawings have a casual feeling, like someone looking casual doing a nice skateboard trick.
RH: Ha, thank you, Lucas. You were the first one to voice that connection. I suppose that after doing/ watching/ shooting/ really-only-ever-caring-about skateboarding for most of my life, that could well be the case. And if I ever do a drawing as casual and stylish as a Ray Barbee no-comply, I'll be a happy chap...
LR: One can also think about music and dance looking at your lines. There is a musical background when you're working? A conscious intent on letting music influence your work? What kind of music could be a suitable soundtrack for your art?
RH: Music is a very important element. I listen to a lot of it anyway, for reasons of sanity; but when drawing I opt for pretty specific things- no vocals usually, for one thing- too distracting; and either sparse or quite dark-sounding records. The regulars on the turntable, I would say, are Hamza El Din, John Fahey, Peter Walker, several Alice Coltrane records and some later ones by her husband; a lot of Pharoah Sanders, sometimes Tim Buckley or John Martyn... On occasion, a lyric will find its way into a drawing- a sprinkle of Mark E Smith maybe.
LR: Do you feel inspired by other artists, alive or dead ones? Do you go to galleries and museums?
RH: I don't really obsessively (intentionally) look at 'art', but I am always around it I s'pose, and I have a lot of talented friends- I particularly like Mat O'Brien and Simon Evans' stuff... I suppose the main influence on my drawings, perhaps obviously, was Raymond Pettibone: I loved his covers for SST records, as a disaffected youth. My favourite artshows have been Simon's 'Guillver' show at Adobe in SF, Banksy's show at the Bristol Museum, and David Shrigley at South Bank in London.
LR: The continuous line, the speed, the movement: there are quite some features in your drawing that reminds skateboard riding and trickering. Something that is hard to represent through skateboard photography, your most well known expression. Do you have any thoughts about how your photography and drawing relate?
RH: I would say that in photography, you are (or I am) often trying to edit things out of the frame; drawing is the opposite process. I do try to draw quickly and loosely, so I suppose that could be likened to skating (or the skating I like to watch); but then again, we are skaters and perhaps we just want to twist everything into it somehow relating to our obsession..? Miro didn't surf...