Richard Earl Leong Yu Ralya is a multidisciplinary artist currently living between Sicily and Hawaii. His works have been acquired for private collections in California, Hawaii, Istanbul, and Italy. Born in New York, raised in rural Northern Virginia, Richard moved to the West Coast to study engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where his first Art classes solidified his decision to pursue a degree in Art. After graduating with a BFA in Painting from the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute, Richard moved to Hawaii to be closer to family and develop his creative practice.
In 2015 he left Hawaii behind and moved to Istanbul Turkey to refocus his life around creativity and the making of Art. For the next two years, he traveled extensively and was invited to attend artist residencies in both Istanbul and Sicily. It was during this time that he redefined his notion of “studio” and developed his ideas for achieving creative independence while also embarking on a project that would expand his work beyond 2D painting and drawing.
In 2017, Richard settled into a small town in Sicily where he became the Artistic Director for the non-profit association Art Project Graniti and set about the business of achieving creative independence with a focus on intuitively pursuing artistic projects. He is currently working on a series of work that includes video, photography and original musical compositions, as well as a commission for a large scale art installation at an award winning wedding venue in Maine USA.
My work has evolved a lot since Art school. Beginning with the early figurative paintings of burning birdhouses and falling bodies; to the controlled lines in the ‘Divine Contortion’ series and the abstract action paintings in the ‘Slow and Long Infinitesimally’ series; with a few experimental exhibitions along the way. Finally including the latest video works and musical compositions.
Throughout it all, there is an attempt to capture a sense of weightlessness by creating a tension between beauty and horror, humor and severity, action and stillness. Using these juxtapositions to pull the viewer off balance, creating an opening for the artwork to seep into the subconscious. The most recent works have shifted towards the abstract, leaving behind artistic desires to embed political or social commentaries. Choosing not to add to the growing division and contentions in the world. Focusing instead on communion. Employing the duality of chaos and serenity to sow the seeds of oneness.
My current processes try to scrape away the ego to find pure human emotion that instills a sense of our shared human experience. We are more alike than we are not alike. Every one of us is warmed by the flame that dances within all life. The spark that inspires matter to move, to multiply, to interact, to think, to speak, to dream and to wonder. When my work is successful, I feel a connectivity to the forces that rule the universe. An infinitesimally small individual as part of an infinite whole.
Whether I’m using finely tuned linework, the fluidity of paint or capturing a sublime moment on camera. Through the weightlessness of creativity and by aligning myself with the flow of the forces of nature, I’m trying to create order out of chaos, both witnessed and imagined. Both found and formed. Laying bare the filaments that connect the material and spiritual worlds. Illuminating the interactions between them.
Making Art is how I connect to the world. It is my center. My work, if nothing else, should act as a conduit for others to feel that connectivity as well. To experience the oneness that we all share.”