“Artist’s Statement – January 2020” by Richard F. Yates

As my efforts to GO PRO continue to gain steam (and “STEEM” as well), the time has come for a new ARTIST’S STATEMENT. By drawing up and organizing these concepts, I’m not only clarifying them and sharing my intentions with YOU FOLKS out there in the world(s), but I’m also winding myself up—in Alan Moore’s terms, I’m spelling out all of the elements of my CREATIVE TRIP and summoning the excitement and motivation to keep myself FOCUSED while I’m doing all of these strange things.


My name is Richard F. Yates. As of today’s date, 11 Jan. 2020, I am 47 years old. (Born in 1972.) I am married to a wonderful, sweet, funny lady named Mariah, and we have two daughters, Frankie and Elise, and one granddaughter, Felicity, (Frankie’s first kid.) My wife and kids are important to my art for two reasons: 1. I incorporate a lot of our daily lives into what I write about and draw and paint, and 2. throughout the kids’ lives, we’ve always done things and made things TOGETHER! I don’t see ART as something only for rich people, or only something that you hang on a wall, or only as something you SELL to make gobs of money (off foolish, gullible investors.) ART is making stuff AND doings stuff AND ENJOYING stuff! As a family, WE have created and experienced a lifetime of ART, and now that I have a GRANDKID in the picture, we get to start the journey of discovery all over again!

I write stories, poetry, short plays, book / movie / music reviews, travel and event journals, and for the last eight years, I’ve posted a daily blog. (I used to post to The Primitive Entertainment Workshop, a WordPress blog, but my collaborators and I actually FILLED THE DAMN THING UP! After we jammed that blog full, I moved to a personal blog on Steemit.com, which actually pays authors crypto-currency for upvotes! It’s a very MODERN, very EXCITING site!) In addition to writing and posting things online, I also create zines, and I have self-published twelve books, either as author or as editor, through Amazon’s self-publishing platform. I also worked for more than seven years in a university writing center, and when I was studying poetry and lit in grad school, I worked as a “Writing Intensive Course” teaching assistant. Most of my training is in writing and editing. I’ve taught numerous writing workshops, judged poetry contests, won contests, and given readings. I love writing—and it’s been kind to me!

HOWEVER, I am also an ARTIST. I draw and paint and make digital art, and I create audio works, as well. My artwork has been used on the covers of a few CDs, as murals on walls (and, ONE TIME, a ceiling), as book covers (even for one book that I didn’t write), has been published in independent magazines and college papers, and has been featured in a few physical galleries in the Pacific Northwest. I have sold paintings at several of my showings, and my crypto-art has sold remarkably well, in my opinion, (considering it’s a form of art that very few people even know exists.) As an artist, I am almost completely untrained. (I had a half-semester art class in 7th grade—when I was 12.) Most of what I’ve learned about art has come from reading books (biographies of artists and histories of art movements, primarily), watching documentaries, and experimenting. And LOOKING at art, which I find in a lot of different places: galleries and museums (of course), but also libraries, comic conventions, toy packaging and advertising materials, amusement parks and curiosity shops, movie and show posters, skating and music magazines, and alleys, stairwells, and on trains… I love folk art, outsider art, comics, bad sci-fi and monster movies, skateboard art, punk rock album covers, and kids’ drawings. I like color and intensity and subtlety and nonsense and humor in the art that I enjoy, and in the movies I watch and the music I listen to, and in LIFE in general. If it’s funny or weird or absurd, that’s going to interest me more than technical skill. If someone shows me a photo-realistic painting of a shop window, complete with perfect lighting and invisible brushstrokes—but it’s really just a normal shop window—I’m probably going to be less interested in it than I am a drawing by a six-year-old kid of a monster with six arms and two heads, whether the kid colored outside the lines or not!

Art isn’t about perfection for me, it’s about capturing a little bit of what makes LIFE interesting, whether that’s a weird bit of light or a perfect patch of unearthly color or a unique perspective or a hilarious joke. I also don’t think art is an elite activity in which only those who are properly trained should participate. I think EVERYONE should keep a journal and write down their thoughts and feelings; I think anyone who likes to draw or paint or take photos or write poems should do it, and we should ALL get together and have a big, amateur art-show / slash / art-sale at least once a month, and hopefully everyone will sell enough stuff that they can buy new materials to make whatever it is they love to make for the NEXT big get-together. And to be clear, I FIRMLY believe that everything people make and do CAN be art: writing, poetry, painting, singing, dancing, conversing, crafting, bookmaking, collage, sculpting, clothes making, baking, yo-yo-ing, DJing, jokes and pranking, blogging, video making, radio production and podcasting, reviewing, teaching… Any time you put effort into making or doing something that comes from YOU, it changes the world—maybe only a tiny little bit, but it still DOES. And if you think a little drawing or stupid poem doesn’t mean much, just keep making them. Eventually, you might end up with several THOUSAND little drawings and stupid poems—and at least a FEW of those will end up being pretty good, even if it’s just an ACCIDENT that one or two turned out good. Sometimes the mistakes end up being the BEST THINGS!

So what, as an artist, do I offer people? I offer stories. Not only do I WRITE stories, but I READ a lot of stories and I write reviews of a lot of the books that I read. Even if you don’t like how I write, you might like some of the works that I’ve read and enjoyed. I offer different, and sometimes quite odd, experiences. Novelty is an important element in keeping every day from feeling like it’s just a replay of the previous day. Whether it’s just a weird drawing or a write-up of a bowling tournament in Las Vegas or a concert by a fairly unknown band, or perhaps some oddly structured sound-poem, I guarantee that you will get a novel little jolt to your system if you stop by one of my sites, ESPECIALLY if you follow my daily blog. I chew on RAW UNIVERSE every night (while most folks sleep), and I use that COSMIC ENERGY to produce a new THING every day. A book or movie review, a music playlist, a poem, a strange piece of fiction, a new work of crypto-art, a motivational rant, a photo session at some local landmark, a personal dive into my damaged psyche, or something—I keep the ball spinning and the content flowing, and it doesn’t take anything but a click and a few minutes of your time to get that much needed KICK OF NOVELTY, which will hopefully provide at least a chuckle—if not the inspiration for you to go do YOUR OWN THING! (I would love to inspire more folks to draw or write or make a podcast or take photos of their hometown or write a review of their favorite toy or video game or type of candy… MAKE STUFF!!! And then send me a LINK, and I’ll look at it and be super supportive and encourage you to make MORE!!!)

And, last, I offer you the opportunity of being a PATRON OF THE ARTS! I have books for salecrypto-artprint-on-demand materials (where you can get one of my drawings on a t-shirt or clock or pillow or a POSTCARD! I love postcards…), and I have a Ko-fi page if you just wanna buy me a cup-o-joe for my efforts! I’m WORKING on putting together a way for folks to buy ORIGINAL art from me, too, so if you’re into actually owning original art (or perhaps prints), check back, and I’ll try to get that up and moving A.S.A.P.!!!


This is a BIG topic. I have a lot of influences, but that’s because I’m OLD and I’ve seen a lot… So that this doesn’t end up being a sixteen-page long section, I’m just going to list, rapid-fire-style, some of my biggest and most important influences—not in any specific order. If any of these names don’t look familiar, I would recommend looking them up. If I like something, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s sort of WEIRD, but I also like things that are hugely popular…if they’re good! Okay… Let’s do this…

Music: The Cure, The Beatles, David Bowie, Gary Numan, Queen, Blondie, Devo, Pink Floyd, Weird Al Yankovic, Adam and the Ants, Front 242, Yaz, Erasure, Depeche Mode, The Legendary Pink Dots, Skinny Puppy, Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ministry, They Might Be Giants, Sub-Humans, The Dead Milkmen, Ween, Echo & the Bunnymen, 808 State, MGMT, The Shins, Tiny Tim, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Lords of Acid, Alien Sex Fiend, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Public Image Limited, Wire, The Damned, The Misfits, The Prodigy, Yello, Frank Zappa, Groovie Ghoulies, etc…

Movies: PopeyeGhostbustersYellowbeardTronCrimewaveWeird ScienceSixteen CandlesLife of BrianBig LebowskiThe Radiant ChildHow to Draw a BunnyAlmost FamousDuck SoupArsenic & Old LaceThe ShiningForbidden ZoneOh Brother, Where Art Thou?Galaxy ExpressThe Wizard of OzTrouble with HarryHis Girl FridayAuntie MamePrivate EyesMurder by DeathYoung FrankensteinBride of FrankensteinYou Can’t Take it with YouA Christmas StoryStar Wars – A New HopeEvil Dead 2, etc…

Artists: Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak, Jean Michel Basquiat, Ray Johnson, Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jack Kirby, Richard Sala, Jim Henson, Hannah Hoch, Josh Agle, Bill Watterson, Dave McKean, Marc Chagall, Michael Kupperman, Rumiko Takahashi, Osama Tezuka, Max Ernst, etc…

Writers / Poets: Alan Moore, Allen Ginsberg, Jorge Borges, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Robert Sheckley, Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, Mike Mignola, Rod Serling, Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, Douglas Adams, Steve Engelhart, Junji Ito, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Jon Savage, Simon Reynolds, Woody Allen, Tom Stoppard, William Blake, etc…

Video Games: Asteroid, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Tron – Deadly Discs, Doom, Maniac Mansion, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Infocom game from 1984), Ladybug, Joust, Freedom Fighter (laserdisc game from 1987), Satan’s Hollow, Mail Order Monsters (Commodore 64), Miner 2049er, Congo Bongo, The Dreadnaught Factor, Sinistar, Robotron: 2084, Zork, Elevator Action, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Bosconian, Arkanoid, Shining Force, Mortal Kombat II, Gauntlet, Space Duel, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain (Intellivision game from 1982), Adventure (Atari 2600 game from 1980), Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, etc…

Other stuff: My family!!!! Working at the Writing Center at WSUV for a LOOOONG time, retro computing, old advertising, pranks, Mad MagazineFamous Monsters of Film Land, Dr. Demento, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), Peewee Herman (Paul Reubens), POSTAL ART / MAIL ART (a FANTASTIC community), zines, local concerts and theater, Punk, New Wave, Dada, Fluxus, The Muppets, OMNI magazine, The Twilight Zone original t.v. show, role playing games, The Shogun Warriors (rebranded Japanese cartoons that used to play on Showtime in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s—and they made toys out of them, too, but those are RIDICULOUSLY expensive now…I wish I still had mine from when I was a kid…), Video Hut (the video shop that we rented VHS tapes from almost EVER SINGLE DAY back in the 1980s), skateboarding, ping-pong (fun game), Marsh’s Free Museum (in Long Beach, Washington), Seaside (a beach town in Oregon), Disneyland, Enchanted Forest (a little amusement park just south of Salem, Oregon), junior high dances, recording songs off the radio onto cheap cassette tapes, rabbit ears on old t.v. sets, dance clubs in Portland in the late 1980s, cousins who were my best friends growing up but who I never see anymore, record players, leather jackets (which I used to wear when I was young and cool, but wouldn’t wear anymore for ethical reasons), 120 Minutes (a late-night music show that used to air on MTV), Lake Sacajawea (in Longview, Washington—which USED to be called Fowler’s Slough, until it was rebranded after a P.R. consultation!), and so on and so forth…

Influences are important, and (as Adam Savage says in his new-ish book, Every Tool is a Hammer,) they should be CELEBRATED and SHARED! If you love something, go ahead and love it! And SHARE it with other folks so they can discover it and love it too (maybe). If you’re afraid people will think you’re WEIRD for what you love, FUCK ‘EM! Get better friends. There is undoubtedly SOMEONE out there who also loves what you do, and a quick check for online “groups” or “communities” built around whatever-it-is will undoubtedly point you towards a whole bunch of folks who share your passions… (It used to be you had to find a ZINE community to fulfil that need, but thanks to that fancy INTERNET thingy, it’s easier to find folks with mutual interests—and it costs a lot less in postage!)

So there you have it! Who I am. What I’m doing. What YOU can get out of it. How you can support my efforts. And what influences made me into what I am today! Do with it what you will!

Hopefully, I’ll get a page full of LINKS written and posted soon, so all you good entities (human or otherwise) will be able to interact more easily with me and my works and my objects of affection! Until then, KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON!!!!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)



Published by richardfyates

Compulsive creator of the bizarre and absurd. (Artist, writer, poet, provocateur...)

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