Perhaps it’s about feeling?

Along with thousands of others, over the isolation period, we took a weekly dose of Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Channel 4.  Thanks, Grayson and Philipa, it’s been a very welcome tonic. It was a little bit silly, it was a little bit odd… It was the last episode this week.

Art is about mixing it up!

Punctuating the episodes Grayson highlights some of the reasons why creating Art can be so important and relevant to people.

Mixing it up…

  • To find some truths about who we really are…
  • We have to be prepared to become vulnerable…
  • Art involves a relationship between the artist and the subject…
  • Art in whatever form you can snatch it… is a wonderful thing…
  • A place to find comfort, refuge and control…
  • You look with only your eyes… looking out through yourself…
  • Everyone has their own way of looking at the world…
  • Stop and notice the beautiful things… 

It’s about feeling. It’s about projecting our thoughts/feelings onto or into an object or image. Making an image or form via our thoughts and feelings. 

As a student, I recall reading Don McCullin ‘If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.’

As a student, when stuck creatively, we were taught to “Scamper” 

But as mentioned before; ‘theory, formula, and process might help move things along, but nothing will replace the passion and drive, the wanting, the desire, the searching, the angst, the belief, the love…’ of a person.

Perhaps, despite what we are told by realist deconstructivists et al, perhaps it’s about feeling after all! 

Listen to the noisy silence.


Abundant Life

I was grateful, to be asked in April, to think about the potential for an artwork to contribute to wall-space in a local church’s community space.

In Leicestershire, Birstall village’s Methodist Church buildings are used by many different groups, making them a valuable community space that sees all ages and a variety of activities. A foundation to the many activities and different lives that pass through the space, is an idea of Christian faith. The Christian faith can be multifaceted, the understandings within it can be diverse, but certain ideas are perhaps universal if we look past specific doctrines, ritual, and habits.


  • the value of community
  • the wonder of growth
  • the potential of interactions
  • the nurture of seeds
  • the beauty of all differing ages
  • the blooming of fruit
  • the essence of water
  • the strength of the cedar
  • the core value of parent and child,
  • the strength of light and dark
  • the power of colour and sensation

I worked on this artwork throughout May. Over that time it grew out of initial ideas, it changed, it needed reconsideration and significant reworking until the current final form was reached.

I came to Leicestershire in 1996. I initially found myself living in Birstall and indeed socialised on the fringe of the Birstall Methodist Church community. Over 20 years I moved in to Leicester and back out to Syston. I still recognise and I’m grateful for the part that Birstall and Birstall people have played in my life.

I find the sense of ‘the natural’ is strong in Birstall. Although Birstall sits on the edge of Leicester’s urban creep, it has its roots in the countryside surrounding it. The Grand Union Canal runs along the edge of the village with Watermead Country Park and lakes. The symbol of Birstall is a Cedar tree – a remarkable 350-year-old cedar tree, standing 100ft tall, can be found in Roman Road which was originally in the grounds of the now demolished Birstall Hall. Incidentally, the Cedar of Lebanon was an important foundational building and lifestyle material in many ancient communities. I notice that the central streets in Birstall are named Beechfiled, Firfield, Oakfield, Elmfield. We also have Poplar, Walnut, and Orchard.  These names, and various cultures in Birstall as well as many other English villages and towns, help to remind us of our essential natural roots in this world.

notebookMy artwork started with the idea that we are called to share in the ‘abundant life’ available to us. The piece attempts to celebrate the natural ‘way’ in and around us, as well as reflect on the idea of interaction within the world around us. Many people are seeking their place and a way forward amidst life’s confusions. The wisdom of age and the potential of youth, and all the stages in between are essential to making life work. Life comes alive when we commune in community with others. The natural growth from darkness to light is empowering. The journey from our past through hope to a fruitful future and recognition of the gift of ‘abundant life’, is what I hope we wish and pray for all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The artwork is complete, and I hope for it to be delivered at some point in July.

‘Abundant Life’ Jules Richards, May 2016
Mixed digital composition.
Print reproduction, 906 x 1189mm, (2.9 x 3.9feet)




I dreamed a dream…

Just watched the film Les Misérables DVD, hummm… Great performances and some great songs…

I then watched 15mins of a David Bowie documentary, hummm…. that’s more like it… buzzzzzzzzzzz.

Maybe it was due to the small screen, perhaps it was one of those films designed for the cinema experience? The start of the film hooked me in but by halfway through it lost me.
Romantic claptrap. I wanted more… having not read the Victor Hugo novel I felt that this was possibly a merry dance on what truly is a much bigger creation. As a stand alone work I found it seemed like spicy popcorn and cheap wine. Nice but no cigar.

In contrast, the brief glimpse of some David Bowie interviews got me buzzing.


I have recently wondered if my current medication is affecting my perception, reaction, or emotional reception to stimuli? I used to shed a tear at the least little thing on tv – drama, film and even pop tv might hook me in. But now I think of it, I can’t recall the last time a film got me going, either identifying with pleasure or sorrow.

Is my suspension of disbelief being affected? My experience of Disney Paris was not affected, but that’s sensory overload, you can’t fight the mighty saccharin Americana Mouse and friends.

Am I in the grip of the old academic ‘paralysis of analysis’ chestnut? I don’t think so – more recently I feel under-analysis and the failure to engage is a more likely.

So back to what’s changed… neurones… brain activity… hummmm….

Finally, Bowie, fantastic, creativity…. Reminded me of Matt, Simon and I experimenting with audience/performer relationships in Cheshire… Experimental sound, speech, movement, oh… to experiment and create again….
It seems ‘life’ can kill the dreams you might dream…

“Those who do not weep, do not see”
“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
“It is ourselves we have to fear. Prejudice is the real robber, and vice the real murderer.”
“Often when we think we are knotting one thread, we are tying quite another.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables