In dance, there is intense dialogue between two spatial partners in perfect cohesion, at a moment creating a visual array of art in motion. In figurative art, the artist takes the virtual motion of the dancer thus, creating uniformity between life and art itself. World renowned figurative sculptor, Richard MacDonald, bronze rendered creations connect us to world where the dancers become a part of the sculptural concept. A lifelong passion of dance has led Richard MacDonald, to create a significant body of work inspired by dancers, performers, and athletes. His work pays tribute to the human form in its entirety. He has been the recipient of many national, and international awards including Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a leading advocate of the neo-figurative movement in the arts.
“My goal is to make fine art, and fine art comes from the soul. If you have virtuosity and facility, you can take and create something of significance. I create for artistic intent only and do everything from life.”
Born in Pasadena, California Richard MacDonald is a self-thought and classically trained artist at the prestigious Art Center, College of Design. He started his career as a successful commercial illustrator working for fortune 500 companies, until a fire destroyed his studio, along with the accumulated works of his career as a painter and illustrator.
“I was tired of illustration. You’d work so hard on a commission and it would go in to a magazine, and you’d turn the page and it was gone.”
MacDonald, began sculpting and within ten years became one of the most collected present-day figurative sculptors in America. He often works on 30-40 pieces at a time at his studios with multiple models coming and going, through the course of the day. MacDonald, who is visually gifted often spends two to four hours with his subject and refuses to use photographs. He prefers to draw his subjects, and eighty percent of his work is driven by memory and his profound understanding of human anatomy. His studio at Veer Towers, has been centerstage for some of his greatest works. One of the reasons he chose Veer Towers, was for its 13-foot ceilings giving MacDonald the opportunity to work on a larger scale. Using tools mostly made by MacDonald himself, he starts with small sketches and builds a maquette, which is refined and enlarged and a mold is used to create editions in bronze, through the “lost wax” technique. Each sculpture takes years to complete as they evolve in size from wax to monumental bronze masterpieces. Per MacDonald
“A sculpture will last a lot longer than a painting. I’m also interested in creating a legacy for collectors because bronze will last for thousands of years so I’m not really selling the art to this particular collector, but it is being passed on.”
Over the years, MacDonald’s work has been esteemed and collected by celebrities and heads of states including names such as: IBM, Hillary Clinton, Michael Jackson, Walt Disney, Sylvester Stallone, and Prince Faisal Al Saud. “There is a connection between me and the collectors, and as admirers of the work they tell me about the differences the pieces are able to make in their lives daily,” says MacDonald.
MacDonald is not a fan of commissioned work and prefers to work without conditions. Although, he has commissioned and brought to life many iconic pieces like Flair, created for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, sitting at over 26-feet, a massive sculpture of a gymnast in motion, highlighting the heroic willpower of Olympians to succeed. MacDonald has also, created 15-foot monument for the 100th U.S. Open in 2000, in celebration of the new Millennium to commemorate its Golf Championship, at Pebble Beach. Currently, he is working on The Grand Coda, a memorial to Dame Ninette de Valois, founder of The Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School. At its completion, the monument will be installed at Richmond Park in London.
Committing his life to the world of arts, Macdonald is avidly involved with numerous philanthropic pursuits. Especially, in inspiring future generation of artists. He actively seeks development of arts through mentoring programs, and art education in schools and universities. He also, supports charitable organizations, that benefit children causes throughout the United States such as Boys and Girls Club, Make a Wish Foundation, Child Help USA, The Junior League, and One Drop Foundation to name a few. He has teamed up with boxing legend, Mohammed Ali at “Celebrity Fight Night,” where he donated one of his master works “Doves, Third Life” which raised over $110,000 for Parkinson’s research.
“Charity work is very important to me and gives me an opportunity to give back to my community. I’ve always been a big supporter of many different charities, have donated millions of dollars to them, and it just feels great to do and can help others, especially children.”
In fact, MacDonald’s collaboration with Cirque du Soleil performers initially, began with his admiration of charity work. After, working with the organization to help benefit Free Arts for Abused Children, a wonderful new genre and partnership was born captivating both the audience and Guy Laliberte, the creator of Cirque du Soleil. Today you can see, a vivid array of Cirque du Soleil performers come to life through his sculptures at Richard MacDonald’s art galleries. “Cirque is a world-wide phenomenon and they are just incredible athletes,” says MacDonald.
In recent years, MacDonald has taken on an exciting new direction with his Red Exhibition as depicted on our cover of, Yin and Yang bronze sculpture. The ancient symbol of Yin and Yang, represents the union of opposites, thus creating a harmony of opposition between male and female. Red is a solo exhibition with 68 pieces, that explores the role color plays in figurative sculpture. MacDonald believes that, “The color [Red] is really the strongest human color, it’s who we are…every time we see red it’s a whole different stimulus than any other color.” The Red Exhibition, can be seen here in Las Vegas at his Gallery at the Bellagio, it will also be presented in coming months in exhibitions in Asia and for the Royal family in Dubai.
Richard MacDonald continues to impress his audience with perfection, precision and sculpts the way for new generation of artists. From his mentorship programs to his charitable contributions, he has enlightened our hearts and our appreciation of the arts. His work is timeless and brings life to the complexity and beauty of human form. A true visionary of his time and the neo-figurative movement.
“Art is an engagement with human beings. The dynamic emotive quality of art makes my work different, there are very few people who do what I do.”