The Personal & The Political: Cameron Richardson’s Artistic Practice

Cameron Richardson began his annual Inktober series to challenge his creative muscles. Beginning in October 2017, he drew an ink piece each day that month. The drawings were based on a chosen word for the day, prompted from the Inktober Instagram profilethrow, wisp, floatto name a few. Each day, Richardson went through the entire artistic process from dreaming up the vision for the piece to completing the finished product.

“Initially I wanted to see if I could even do 30 drawings in 30 days,” Richardson said. “But it really made me appreciate my creative thinking ability.”

Richardson has participated in Inktober every year since. The series reminds Richardson to appreciate his talents every day and not to hesitate with his artadvice he would pass on to young artists starting out.

Richardson recognized his talent in the visual arts as early as kindergarten. He drew precisely with colored pencils while other students wielded crayons. He continued taking art classes through high school, where he dove deeper into his artistic voice in advanced placement classes.

“You might have a thought you want to write in your diary,” Richardson said. “For me, I got to put it on canvas.”

After high school, he pursued an architecture degree at Oklahoma State University, hoping to apply his creative talents to a career his parents thought would be more practical. After coming to the realization that he cannot live his life to please others, Richardson switched to a studio art major.

“When I want to go into a dreamscape world, art can take me there,” Richardson said. “If I want to get serious and political, I can go there with art too.”

While some of the Inktober pieces showcase a free-spirited, whimsical side of Richardson’s artistic vision, he also hopes to use his art as a platform to share his perspectives on pervasive and personal issues. 

“I’m shifting my tone in my meaning of art,” Richardson said. “I was really inspired by all the protests this summer. The tone of the country has inspired me to illustrate it through my point of view.”

Richardson discussed an upcoming project influenced by the organized efforts to deface and remove memorials and statues dedicated to white supremicist, slave-owning leaders throughout this country’s history. This summer’s protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police lead Richardson share his perspective and pain through paint. 

“As a Black man, it was very hard just waking up every day and watching everything going on,” Richardson said. “And it was hard to go to work and be silent. It bothered me, and I have to express this.”

Richardson spent time examining the United States’ racist history and the erasure of the pain and violence wrought on marginalized people, particularly black people, by those in power.. Richardson’s upcoming series will spotlight the true histories behind the monuments and figureheads many people immortalize and idolize as founders of the United States.

“We’re told ‘these are your presidents and they did this for the country,’ and they just completely omit that these people were slave owners,” Richardson said. “The death of George Floyd brought attention to not only the disproportionate killings of Black people, but also how this country has turned a blind eye to our founders and our past.”

As Richardson explores different tones, styles and mediums in his art, his definition of art evolves. He continues to mold his artistic voice and share his unique perspectives while affirming his creative talent.

“I just keep reminding myself daily that I have a gift and to use it,” Richardson said.

Richardson’s Inktober pieces and upcoming works can be found on his Instagram profile, @crich_art. DM for commissions.