Richard Bolingbroke grew up in the south of England. He took a pre-diploma art course at Winchester Art College in 1969 and then went on to study Geography at London University in 1970. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Geography in 1973, having all the while continued to paint in an unused laboratory on campus.
He traveled to India in 1976, and lived there for five years on a life-defining spiritual journey. He returning to Europe in 1981 living briefly in Amsterdam, and then moved to the United States on Thanksgiving Day 1981. After a cold winter on the East coast he moved west, spending four years in Oregon, lived briefly in Phoenix, and moved to his current home in San Francisco, California, in 1986.
As an artist his work has embraced many phases and styles. At art school, sculpture and photography were his main areas of work, but later explorations led to a greater interest in painting, especially conceptual and philosophical questions about time, creativity and the nature of reality. He also discovered a lifelong obsession with color as primary force in painting.
While traveling, he taught himself watercolor due to its ease of use on the road, painting landscapes as he worked his way across Asia to India. He began working in still-life when he arrived in San Francisco and it has remained his principle genre since then although he recently returned to the theme of landscape with a series of images of trees in the California landscape in chalk pastels and oils.
While watercolor is still his primary medium, his recent purchase of a printing press has allowed him to continue his work with monoprints. Recent investigations of pattern and color have resulted in complex watercolor images using Japanese kimonos and various personal objects from his studio.
His shows in Washington D.C in 1998 and New York City in 1999 were well received, and he has showed his work on a regular basis in Florida since 1997, receiving several awards for the excellence of his work. In 2002 he had a career retrospective at the Atrium Gallery in San Francisco. Currently a selection of work from the series of watercolors called “Rituals and Meditations” is touring museums in the U.S.
2000-2001 City College of San Francisco, Intaglio, Life Drawing Courses
1995 City College of San Francisco, Monotype course
1970-1973 BSc Geography, London University
1969-1970 Pre-Diploma Year Winchester College of Art
2001-6 Visual Aid Grantee , San Francisco, CA
2006 American Artist Award, Watercolor USA, Springfield Art Museum, Missouri, Juror Daniel Piersol, Mississippi Museum of Art.
1999 Coconut Grove Art Festival, Coconut Grove, Florida, Second Prize Watercolor
1998 National AIDS Memorial Grove, San Francisco, Poster Commission, CA
1998 Gasparilla Festival, Tampa,Forida, ,juror Thelma Golden Whitney Museum, Honorable Mention
1997 Coconut Grove Art Festival, Coconut Grove, Florida, First Prize Watercolor
1990 San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, Concert Poster
2001-2006 Artists Guild of San Francisco, Board Member
1996-2000 Artspan Board Member (producers of S.F. Open Studios), President 1997
1991-1992 Artists Guild of San Francisco, Board Member
1989 Gay and Lesbian Artists Alliance, Founder and Member
Bechtel Corporation, San Francisco, CA
Kaiser Permanente Corporation, CA
The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Michael Berry M.D. & Lloyd Burton, San Francisco, CA
Harold Chusid, San Francisco, CA
Georgie Clark, Bethesda, Maryland
Harold Clumeck, San Francisco, CA
John Fetros, San Francisco, CA
Maureen Flaherty M.D., San Francisco, CA
Richard and Deborah Hawkins, Portland, Oregon
Eric Hochheimer, Amsterdam,Holland
Robert La Monte, San Francisco, CA
William F Owen Jr, M.D.,San Francisco, CA
Salisbury Post, November 10 2005, Bolingbroke Watercolors, interview
San Francisco Bay Times, San Francisco ,July 14 2005, Iconography Review, Dana Van Iniquity
Artweek, San Francisco, April 2004 “Hunters Point Open Studio”
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, April 27 2003 “Artistry at Hunters Point” Mark Aronoff
Nevada City Times, April 2003, Show Review
Miami Herald February 18 2003 ,“Coconut Grove Art Festival” interview
San Francisco Arts Monthly, October 2002
San Francisco Frontiers Newsmagazine October 2000 “San Francisco Open Studios”
Watercolor Magazine “A Quiet Splendor” by James Metcalf. Summer 2000
San Francisco Chronicle . Jesse Hamlin, October 1, 2000 “Three artists open their studios”
San Francisco Frontiers Newsmagazine October 1999 “San Francisco Open Studios”
The Sentinel, san Francisco March 2 1989 “An Artists Profile” Michael Gunsaulus
We live in a world where every question can be answered by the click of a mouse, where we can visit ancient monuments from the comfort of our armchair, a world where the mysterious has almost vanished from sight. Religion has been fatally corrupted by power and decadence, knowledge has replaced wisdom, and information has become a product in itself. In this world more is better, excess is stylish, and "reality" is more likely to refer to a television program than a personal experience, a world where the ephemeral is glorified over the substantial. In short, it is a world where meaning is hard to find.
And so I have asked myself "where do I find meaning in my life and in my art?". Looking back at my work working with skulls and thorns in Rituals and Meditations and earlier where I was using fabrics and flowers, I could see myself searching for meaning. This earlier work was characterized by an intensity and vitality expressed most especially through color and pattern, and while I see now that this very vitality was an expression of meaning in itself, at the time this did not feel enough.
While taking a year's break from painting, I worked on a series of collages that transformed my understanding of the picture plane, and opened my eyes to new possibilities. Originally inspired by the Fukushima tsunami, this work washed my own creative world clean and liberated me to start afresh. Music, and especially rhythm, was expressed in color and form. Certain obsessions and underlying themes crystalized into symbols and shapes, and the central place I had reserved for representation dissolved. This transformation of my creative process was aided by my work creating a series of abstract monoprints, Meditations on the Square. Stylistically the work I present here is a synthesis of the collage work and my earlier watercolors.
Here I attempt to express discoveries I have made on this journey. Here are carnal ceremonies, and fierce, rhythmic visions, journeys into silence with glimpses of clarity, expressed with grace and veneration. This is my truth. Life IS mysterious, it is full of riddles, and sometimes it is illuminated by visions. In these paintings I offer not the clarity of answers, but mysterious adventures on the stormy seas of the unknown and the unknowable, stories that are both ancient and modern, personal and universal, siren songs to lure you into experiencing life in all its beauty and power.