Spokane-born artist Richard Bulman says his family travels (when he was growing up) to such diverse locations as Newfoundland, Europe, Japan and the Oregon Coast sparked his interest in the history of ancient cultures and the art they created.
He's one of the participants in the 20th annual Summer Solstice Walkabout in historic Fairhaven. For more on his art, go to www.BulmanFineArt.com. For more on the self-guided art walk, go to Fairhaven.com.
Question: How did you become interested in pursuing art?
Answer: When I was 12 years old my sister gave me a set of oil paints and an instruction book. My first try didn't look too bad, so I was excited to do more. After selling one of my paintings the following year I decided to try and be an "Artist." I have always admired the works of the Renaissance artists; Da Vinci's work in particular. The first time I saw one of his originals it brought tears to my eyes.
Q: Who encouraged you along your path?
A: I've had a lot of support from my family and friends over the years, and some wonderful and giving teachers who have helped me along the way. The most significant influence in my life has been my partner of 30 years, Jim Rich. He manages the business, maintains my website, writes my emails, helps me prepare and install shows, all the while encouraging me to keep creating art.
Q: What brought you to Bellingham?
A: Jim's work with Intalco in Ferndale brought us to Bellingham in 1993 after living California and Georgia.
Q: Are you a full-time artist?
A: I have worked full time as an artist for the past 25 years. Before that I was producing art part-time and working other jobs to help make ends meet. These days I make art full-time, work on commissions and teach classes: drawing, painting, printmaking and framing. I also advise artists on their portfolio presentations for college entries and job interviews.
Q: What are some of your of artistic endeavors?
A: Working in a variety of mediums keeps the art-making process exciting for me. I have worked with cloth, clay, stone and wood, as well as doing drawings, paintings, jewelry making and intaglio prints.
Q: Where can people see your work?
A: This month you can find my work locally at Allied Arts, A Lot of Flowers, Jolita Arts, The Jansen Art Center and the Colophon Café. I also have work currently in shows at Smith/Vallee Gallery in Edison, and at galleries in Kirkland, Stanwood, Monroe and in Atlanta.
Q: What about your claim to fame as the model for the Dirty Dan Harris sculpture in Fairhaven Village Green?
A: I had worked with sculptor Bob McDermott several times before the "Dirty Dan" project and was honored to be asked to pose for the statue. After some research we put together a costume using my old work boots and clothes inherited from my father. Bob found the derby I wore and when we were done it was coated in clay and cast as part of the sculpture.
It was a great experience to be a part of creating this piece and I always enjoy seeing people's interactions. Since then I have become much more involved in promoting the history of old Fairhaven. My partner, Jim, plays the part of Dirty Dan for local events and historical tours. He tells me that he enjoys sitting next to the "Bronze Rick" conversing with me! We are both pleased to have been invited to join "The Ladies" of Fairhaven on their various outings.
Q: What are some of your future plans, artistic or otherwise?
A: I'm continuing my series of works on stone, which have proven quite popular. The unique qualities of each stone offer endless creative opportunities, and it doesn't hurt that every visit to the Re Store allows me to add to my collection.
Upcoming shows include the Anacortes Arts Festival juried exhibition, Bellwether Arts Market, The ArtFarm opening this summer at the Japanese Gardens on Chuckanut Drive near Bow, and the annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour in October.
Q: Any future plans?
A: Archaeological sites, as I mentioned, have always fascinated me, and that has not changed. We are saving for a trip to South America to explore some of the many sites in Peru and Ecuador.
In the meantime I'm looking forward to working on my hillside garden, giving my bonsai collection some much-needed attention, celebrating our 31st anniversary in July, and just enjoying living in Fairhaven, one of the most beautiful places with some of the most wonderful people that I have ever lived.
Reach MARGARET BIKMAN at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-2273.