Monday, March 2, 2009

Tree Street Tuesdays: Meet J. Kirk Richards and Family

The Richards Family

If you came looking for me at this very moment, you would find me in the dark, hovering over the light of the computer screen, hiding in the front seat of my Jeep.  It's been one of those days and I pretty much just told the Glediator that I needed to run away.  After puttering around the house for a while longer, drawing out my planned exit with this distraction and that, the Glediator commanded me to LEAVE.   I know we recently had a heart to heart about the comings and goings of Maniac Mindy.  I got a lot out of your advice, but I have relapsed.  I'm only human, people.  Sue me. 

So here I sit in the bliss of beautiful, black silence.  Among the thoughts that have whirled around in my head today, I keep going back to the experience of stepping through the front door of artist, J. Kirk Richards's home on Briar at 9:00 on Sunday night.  The front room was warm and dim as I stepped inside.  Paintings of the most authentic and exquisite nature set a spirit of welcome and the cloak of burden I had been carrying was shed as we toured the paintings in each of the rooms in the Richards's home.

I think I can be honest with you all by now.  I am an art snob.  Most of the decorations on my walls are found objects, antiques or photos.  Once, the Glediator bought me some very posh paintings from a fine art gallery and I exchanged them.  Poor, poor Glediator.  He does not buy me paintings anymore. 

"Cherubim and a Flaming Sword"

Yes.  I am picky about art so when I say that Kirk's paintings blow me away, then that's really saying something.  About eighty percent of the subject matter that Kirk paints is religiously based  (I'm even harder to impress in this category!).  His approach to Christian art is a breath of fresh air.

Here are the new things I learned about Kirk in the hour and a half that we visited:
  • He is now the third generation of Richards men to own their home on Briar (I told you people move here and never leave!).
  • He was classically trained in the French horn and piano until his junior year of high school when he told his parents he wanted to be an artist.
  • He majored in art at BYU and then dropped out and took a Greyhound bus to New Jersey to apprentice with artist, Patrick Devonas.
  • He later came back to school and graduated in Art from BYU.
  • He just bought a 4700 square foot studio in Redmond, UT where he can work on his large (and very messy) paintings and sculptures.
  • His sweet wife Amy is an artist too.  Kirk is her mentor and she has done some gorgeous portraits and landscapes.  They have three adorable children.
  • Amy comes from Brentwood, one of my favorite spots near Nashville, TN!
  • Kirk started dabbling in music when they lived out in Nashville and now he is a very talented singer-songwriter working on solo and group projects.  He does his own recordings and music videos, claiming that he had to "unlearn" a lot of his classical training.  I find that funny.
  • Did you think I was done?  Kirk also writes and illustrates children's books.  My favorite?  The very clever, "I'll Be There With Belzon."
  • Some highlights of Kirk's achievements include:  the cover art for Elder Holland's book, Broken things to Mend, showing his painting, "The Paryletic." He won first place at the Spring Salon (a statewide art competition), and has had several paintings featured on PBS documentaries.  Seriously, my sum up of his achievements is pathetic compared to what you can check out at
Amy and Kirk have been a few blocks away for quite some time now, but I have been oblivious to it until recently.  How lovely to find them and make friends.  Thank you Kirk and Amy!  Let's do dinner soon.


  1. Be honest Mindy...we're good enough friends. I won't even cry. Do you hate the painting I gave you for your birthday 3 years ago? I won't be offended. But if you hate it ... I want it back. :) p.s. I LOVE Tree Street Tuesdays . p.p.s. We should go to lunch for our birthdays! Call me and let's do it!

  2. Oohh, I love his paintings. I have the Cherubim and a Flaming Sword in my living room. I love the symbolism, and that painting has helped me understand som many things. Thanks for the insights into the artist!

  3. You know so many awesome people. I didn't think I would be that excited about hearing about your family, neighbors and colleagues, but I was wrong. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I think we all need those escapes some times.

  4. Krista. I don't know what you're talking about! I'll have you know that my storage room has NEVER looked better. It would be a disaster in there without your painting pulling all the colors together ;-)

    I'm so glad you like Tree Street Tuesdays. I was 90% sure I was the only one that got excited about it. Thanks for humoring me.


  6. most people don't know that angels in the bible are always men.