Fine Art Connoisseur

RICHARD WILSON MAKES HIS OWN WAY

We tend to imagine artists’ careers in certain ways. Most often we envision them retreating into the studio to do battle with The Muse, emerging with artworks that their dealers praise to the heavens, and for which collectors pay heavenly prices. Museum exhibitions and coffee-table monographs follow. (Well, maybe this goes too far, but it would be nice if it always happened like this.)

To be sure, our mental portraits of artists generally do not picture them driving their work around to outdoor art festivals, battling the elements while setting up a 10-x-10-foot booth for display, keeping one eye on the cash box and the other on a van parked nearby, watching other exhibitors’ booths while they take bathroom breaks, etc. Real artists don’t do that, right?

Hopefully the experience of Richard Wilson (b. 1971), a gifted painter and pastelist based in Greenville, North Carolina, will overturn some readers’ expectations in this regard. During 2019, the latest full year of in-person art festivals, he participated in 18 of them, winning top prizes or best-in-show awards at 15. That meant 18 long weekends spent anywhere between New York State to Florida, and as far west as Colorado. That required

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