Congratulations Jeff Richards, winner of our Sacred Art Contest!
Standing at the abyss of existential despair and the prospect of a mid-life crisis at the tender age of 35, Jeff Richards decided a 180 degree turn was in order - he sold his cabinetmaking business and embarked on a lifelong dream of becoming an artist, taking 7 years to complete a BA degree in Studio Art at San Francisco State University and an MFA degree in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute. He then spent the next 7 years unlearning everything he’d learned in art school, at which point he began the real work.??
There were two major crossroads on that path through the labyrinth of meaningful creativity. The first appeared when an artist friend approached him with a box of industrial sewing thread spools, thrusting it in his hands with the admonition “I’ve had these for 2 years and I don’t know what to do with them, you give it a try!”. Being a sculptor, and having never sewn in his life, Richards promptly placed the box on a shelf and forgot about it – until one day a voice drew him back to the forgotten container, and he began idly playing with the strange material, never expecting much to come of it. 2 years later sewing thread was his primary medium, proving once again the value of secondary processes.
The second crossroad followed a series of uncanny synchronicities – some painful, some magical – over a period of 9 months which, woven together into a web of fate, created a catalyst that manifested on August 18, 2008. All of the years of work, of laborious exploration, of deep mining within the psyche, suddenly alchemized and thrust him into creative warp drive. Nothing has been the same since.
About Jeff’s work:
In the study of chaotic theory it has recently been found that any chaotic system has within it a tendency to work its way towards order, beginning in a specific domain and spreading throughout the system. Early computer modeling showed these domains to be rare and elusive, thus they were termed “strange attractors”.
“My art work, in a peculiar way, is my own way of searching for these strange attractors, these domains of order within chaos wherein the seeds of coherence and beauty lie.”
Several of Jeff’s pieces are inspired by the life of 18th Century Enlightenment Era scientist/mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, and the thought of Angels as “Beings of Light”. All of Jeff’s work available on Touchstones of the Sacred is created with sewing thread and paint on fiberboard, an unusual method he has developed over the years. Each piece is a unique work of art, not a print or copy.