“I grew up in a small working class town in New Jersey where art in school or the community was mostly nonexistent. People worked hard in factories to put food on the table, and there was little time for much else. Fortunately, I was able to go to Alfred University, a major force in American ceramics. I didn’t know anything about pottery, but I was always intrigued by the students who wore “mud” on their jeans.
After college and two years in the Army, Richard returned to the east coast to live in New York City. He loved clay, but had reservations about being able to make his living as an artist. He taught at Little Red School House in NYC, went to grad school and became director of an alternative elementary school. Throughout all his career positions, a part of him yearned to work with his hands. At age 50, he came back to the “mud“ he envied in his college days. He worked nights as a janitor so he could work days as a ceramist and build his reputation as a master potter.
Horses have played key roles in war, transportation, and industrial development throughout history, and, in America, they stand as iconic representations of all that symbolizes the American West. In addition to Western history, legend, and the sheer majesty and physical beauty of these animals, Richard’s work has been influenced by the Bronze Age of China and American folk art.
“This is work that I love—I hope you enjoy it, too.” Richard Hess