Mormon / LDS artist J. Kirk Richards at BYU Education Week
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Mormon / LDS artist J. Kirk Richards at BYU Education Week

– We are at the BYU Bookstore, it’s Education Week, and we are here with my favorite artist in the room, – Ja Kirk (J. Kirk Richards). – [John Dye] Ja Kirk. – J. Kirk Richards. – How are you? – Thanks for being here today. So, what are you doing
here at Education Week? – Well, I’m mostly here to sign prints. I brought a few originals as well. This piece back here is called The Trumpet Shall Sound. It’s about the resurrection. – I’m staring at it and I can’t stop. I can’t look away from it. What would you like to say about it? Anything? – I love the messy materiality of paint, so in this particular painting, I’m trying to kinda juxtapose Heaven and Earth. Earth is just gritty,
and thick, and textural and then Heaven is atmospheric. So, it’s based on the scripture, the trumpet will sound and the corrupted will be raised incorruptible. So, you can see figures rising from the Earth in the resurrection. – [Cameraman] Incredible. – Awesome. Do you have a favorite print of yours? Is that a weird question? – I actually really still
love this The Last Supper. Which is one of my first
prints that I ever made. I don’t know why, it just
remains one of my favorites. I love the abstraction of it. It really reminds me of my years at BYU. You can see some influence of some of my BYU professors in it. – Oh cool. – It’s just really textural and kinda speaks to something
that I’ve tried to continue which is experimentation in my work. – Very nice. Now, you reference some
of your professors. When you paint human figures,
do you reference live bodies or photographs of live
bodies or how do you do that? – Yeah, it depends on the piece and what kind of finish I want. The Last Supper was done
purely from my imagination. – Okay. – Probably my most well known pieces, Every Knee Shall Bow. Most of that was done from imagination. But there are other pieces that have more realism in them. Like this painting of Christ
and the Lepers in the cave. For those I would either bring
a model in and shoot photos or have somebody actually sit in my studio and paint from life. Usually in a painting it’s
a combination of the two. Imagination and reference. – Cool. We were talking before about just all the different
artists that are here today and you were saying how
everybody kinda knows everybody. Is there anybody that’s here
that you used to really, at one point, maybe earlier in your life, really looked up to and
now they’re a colleague? – If not here then in general.
– Yeah certainly in general. I’ve been able to do shows with some of my teachers and my heroes. Like, James Christensen
who recently passed away, Gary Smith, Kathleen Peterson. So, that’s really exciting to be able to. I think that really
drives artists in general, to be able to, to do things at the level of
the people that they admire. For example, I now have a self
portrait on the portrait wall at the Springville Museum of Art next to Bruce Smith and Gary Smith. I’m really excited about that. – That’s awesome! Well, good. Anything coming up that
we should know about? Any top secret information
that you wanna say to a camera? – I have an exhibit right now for the next two weeks at Writ & Vision on
Center Street in Provo. Then my next big thing will be, we have an open house
once a year in November. At my studio in Woodland Hills, Utah. – Awesome! Well thanks for talking with
us about these things today. – A pleasure.

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