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RICHARD L. MINNS
“Richard Minns was born to be a sculptor. He has created his own sculptural language: realistic and physical, with anatomical perfection, highly charged with emotion and movement, conveying sexuality in the way of Michelangelo, Rodin and Bourdelle.”
Art came easily and quickly to Richard. He could always draw. At one time he considered becoming a political cartoonist, but after training in painting and sculpture at the Hampstead Academy in London and then at Avni Art Institute in Israel, he knew that sculpture was his calling. He enrolled in the Basis School of Sculpture in Israel, completed the 5 year course in two years, and opened his own studio in Hadassah Neurim, overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Ocean.
Like the Old Masters, Richard has a deep interest in Classical and Biblical Mythology. Like the Old Masters, Richard has made a life study of human anatomy. Combining these interests with his considerable artistic talents, plus his personal background in bodybuilding and athletic achievement, Richard has made a unique mark in sculpture of the 21st century.
Richard Minns lives life to the full.
The son of an Irish father and Jewish mother, Richard was born on a Ranch in Texas in 1929. He has lived all over the world in a larger-than-life continuous adventure, spanning 14 different successful careers which have been the subject of newspaper and magazine articles, books, movies, and television shows.
A former boxing champion and rodeo competitor, Richard first trained to be a doctor; then became a journalism professor; then a professional writer; then founder and operator of one of America’s largest advertising-marketing-public relations agencies; then founder and operator of one of the world’s largest network of health and fitness spas.
And a world-class athlete still holding over 12 world’s records in endurance sports.
For two decades, Richard promoted his growing network of health spas by challenging nature to set a new physical endurance World’s Record on each of his birthdays. One sports writer called Richard a “World Champion Nut”, and the term stuck. His feats include:
Age 35, MEXICO. The first non-Mexican to successfully high dive from the 170 foot high famed La Quebrada cliffs of Acapulco.
Age 45, USA. Two records: The first person to waterski non-stop for 11 hours and the only person to successfully circle the freezing waters of Lake Tahoe 5 times.
Age 48, ANTIGUA, West Indies. Killed two giant Great White Sharks (one weighing over 3,000 pounds) in hand-to-hand combat 210 feet deep in the Caribbean Ocean.
Age 50, USA. Father and son World’s Record: Richard and son Myles, then age 18, waterskied non-stop on separate slalom skis behind the same boat for 6 hours, circling the freezing waters of Lake Tahoe 3 times. Longest time in history for two skiers behind the same boat.
Age 54, SWITZERLAND. The first person to successfully waterski non-stop around the perimeter of Lake Geneva.
Age 70, ISRAEL. The first person to successfully waterski non-stop around the Kinneret (The Biblical Sea of Galilee).
Age 72, ISRAEL. Repeated his 70th Birthday Feat, but this time with his youngest son, Sean, then age 12. Both father and son waterskied non-stop and no falls behind the same boat, establishing a father-and-son World’s Record which will stand the test of time.
An ultimate competitor, Richard loves to compete, loves to win and embraces life with zest and vigor. His slogan is “Nothing is Impossible”. He has taught this to his five children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
“I am an optimist”, Richard proclaims, adding “It does not seem much use being anything else. A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity; an optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity.”
“I HAVE SPENT A LIFETIME
IN SPORT AND BODYBUILDING,
Every artist and every sculptor is influenced by those who have preceded him. To fully understand Richard Minns, let us roll back the clock and take a quick journey with those who have preceded him and who have influenced his work.
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth, and God created Man in His own image. Almost from the beginning of time, Artists and Sculptors have sought the truth by re-creating and re-defining Man in their own image and in God’s image.
The nude human figure was their source of inspiration. They, like Richard, found their truth in nature and they illustrated the beauty and wonder of man and woman through their interpretation of the Gods and Goddesses of Classical Mythology and the Heroes of the Bible. This surged into prominence with the Classic Greek and Roman Old Masters, moving into the Renaissance and undisputedly, in Richard’s view, the greatest sculptor in History: Michelangelo Buonarroti, who set the standard of excellence for every artist and sculptor thereafter.
Michelangelo was the primary influence on Auguste Rodin who, from 1860 to 1910, made his mark as “the greatest living sculptor since Michelangelo”. This was the time of the famous Impressionists. Rodin alone was to sculpture as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne combined were to painting. Rodin brought a new dimension to sculpture, much the same as Impressionism and Symbolism were doing to painting.
Michelangelo and Rodin have been the governing influence on Israeli Sculptor Richard Minns.
In Richard Minns, we present a 21st Century Sculptor, with 21st Century techniques, but with the anatomical discipline of the Renaissance Old Masters combined with the expressionistic movement of the French Impressionists.
In Richard’s hands, clay, wax, wood, bronze and marble are transformed into figures that manifest the human condition. Richard understands the possibilities of the male and female nude and the spectacle of muscles in movement. Every inch of Richard’s sculptures, from head to toe, convey the total human spectrum of emotion.
Richard interprets stories and heroes from the Bible, which, in his capable hands, literally come alive with anatomical perfection, compelling emotion and maximum movement. Richard’s sculptures are truly 3-dimensional and must be viewed with 360º careful scrutiny.
If you walk by an important sculpture in a museum, in front of a building, in a City plaza, or in a park, you are passing something that can open your eyes and mind to a new world. If you give it only a quick glance, you will surely miss the experience. But if you stop, look carefully, walk around the sculpture, and watch it change as you see it from different angles, you will be able to make some astonishing discoveries.
This is how it is with Richard Minns’ creations: They must be carefully observed, viewed from every angle, first from a distance and then up close. Finally they must be touched because physical contact produces a powerful response to his work.
Richard states: “We are used to thinking of each person we know well as having a distinct individual appearance that is always recognizable and relatively unchanging. Yet in the intimate caress of love, for example, as we explore the body of our beloved, we discover curves, hollows, ridges, muscles, bones, rippling shadows, striking highlights – looking fresh and new and more beautiful than ever, as if we had never seen them before.”
“The opening lines of
the final stanza in T. S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ are a perfect
description of my experience:
This is the experience Richard wants you to have when you own one of his original sculptures: adventure, curiosity, challenge, surprise, discovery, never-ending exploration.
Richard invites you to touch his sculptures. To feel the qualities of the work.
“The art of making sculpture, especially the male and female nude, is a sensual form of creativity. It grows primarily out of the emotional relationship we have to the human figure – our own to begin with, and more importantly those of others who arouse in us the passions associated with physical love. When we touch what sculptors have created, we get the feeling that we are experiencing the same intense emotion felt by the artists when creating their works. Our hands repeat the experiences they had, and we become lovers of form just as they were”, he continues.
Richard wants the owners of his original sculpture to enjoy a special kind of visual and physical interaction with his sculpture.
Essential to the appreciation of Richard’s sculpture is light. And this is where an artistic partnership is formed between the sculpture and its owner. Whether the light is coming from the left or the right, the top or the bottom, makes a crucial difference in the appearance of the forms. A strong light, for example, may reveal the bulges of a figure that represent muscle and bone and give strength to the work, or the texture of hand and tool marks that show the artist’s personal touch. So, by controlling the light, owners of the sculpture become artists in their own home, creating for themselves the dramatic effect that satisfies their individual taste.
The nude figure has clearly been a dominant theme during all key periods of artistic achievement. Richard strives to create a work of art that immortalizes his vision of beauty. Like the Old Masters, Richard is moved to probe the three-dimensional world for the forms that satisfy his creative urges. Richard is emotionally involved in the nakedness of the figures he represents and he strives to bring into being the ideas that excite his passions.
Richard pours his energy, passion and his very soul into his sculptures until he falls in love with them, like Pygmalion, the mythical Greek artist who fell in love with his sculpture of Venus. To Pygmalion’s great joy, the gods brought his sculpture to life, and she became a real woman, Galatea, with whom he could fulfil his love.
Richard strives to create a work of art that will immortalize his vision of beauty.
I met Richard Minns when he first made Aliyah and moved to Israel. An extremely muscular, tanned American, bursting with life and vitality, who looked 25 years younger than his actual age. Richard had come to my gallery in Caesarea to see my sculptures. He told me that he liked my sculptures, and he bought one. That was the beginning of our friendship.
Richard had trained in painting and sculpture at the Hampstead Academy in London and then at Avni Art Institute in Jaffa, Israel. He was in search of a Sculpture Academy capable of furthering his desire to excel in anatomical sculpture. It was my pleasure to introduce Richard to my friend and colleague David Zundelovitch, the founding director of Israel’s BASIS SCHOOL, a school run by some of the finest Russian sculptors I have known.
I have been a professional sculptor for over 30 years and I exhibit and sell my sculptures all over the world, but the art of sculpture is a continual learning process, so, when I had some extra time (as the result of the second Intifada), I spent a year at BASIS to re-hone my skills, and I worked side-by-side with Richard. Actually, I was his translator since Russian is my native language. Richard soared at the Basis School, completing the five-year course in two years. I have never seen someone of any age progress so fast. Although he started sculpture late in life, Richard was born to be a sculptor.
I now share two large studios with Richard in Hadassah Neurim, overlooking the beautiful breaking water of the Mediterranean Ocean. I have watched Richard develop as a sculptor. I see him work every day.
When Richard works, he works with intense, absolute concentration. He literally becomes part of his sculpture, and nothing else exists. We can be in the same studio all day and unless Richard needs something, not a word is said. It is as if his very soul is captured in his creation. He becomes its willing prisoner, and his soul will not be set free until the sculpture is finished.
Like the Old Masters, Richard knows and understands anatomy and he literally worships the human body. He is passionate, demanding, and his whole personality goes into his sculptures.
Richard has created his own sculptural language: realistic and physical, highly charged with emotion and movement, conveying sexuality in the way of Michelangelo, Rodin and Bourdelle.
Cancer made me the sculptor I am today
"The greatest contribution both to my skill as a sculptor and the personal connection I have with my creations was when in July 2003 I was diagnosed with Stage T3 Prostate cancer."
"I had lived a disciplined life, consistently maintaining a world-class level of physical fitness. I was proud of my ability to set world's records in endurance sports, which could not be challenged by men half my age."
"Frankly, having enjoyed a long life of good health, I probably felt I was immortal."
"Suddenly the carpet was pulled out from under me. For the first time in my life I was faced with my own mortality. My conventional doctors told me that I would be dead in two years if I did not immediately submit to their prescribed medical treatment. Since the cancer had spread too much to operate, my only given options were a combination of intensive Radiotherapy and intense Chemotherapy."
"I have always done things 'My Way', and after researching the side effects of conventional treatment (impotence and incontinence), I rejected the advice of my doctors, and decided to utilize a choice of Alternative Medicine. My choice consisted of taking nauseating potions by the clock, plus 227 pills each day and 1.5-hour intravenous drips 3 times a week. It was hell, but I stuck to it with resolve."
"My family and I did a lot of praying. My Sons and my Grandson flew to Israel to comfort me and to show their support. We prayed, unashamedly, with arms around each other at King Solomon's great Western Wall in Jerusalem. I felt closer to G-d than ever before."
"G-d listened. He heard our prayers and decided that I had a reason to keep on living. G-d granted me a prolonged life. Between the power of prayer and the alternative medicine, my PSA dropped lower and lower and the malignant tumor got smaller and smaller until it disappeared. After 8 months I was in remission. For the past 18 months, there has been no medical evidence of cancer. What I accomplished is in no medical record book. My conventional doctors, who remain at odds with my alternative medicine doctors, have no explanation. One of them says I simply 'willed' my Stage T3 cancer to go away. Don't you believe that."
"During this time of uncertainty, not knowing if I would live or die, I buried myself in my work. I felt that every sculpture I produced could well be the last sculpture I would ever create, and, if so, it would be the last part of me that I would leave on this earth for my family, friends, and the world to remember me by. Nothing mattered except for my work. My heart and soul poured into each sculpture. My passion and internal torment, my lust for life, my determination to survive - all poured into my work. G-d (and I truly believe this) guided my hand. I was as connected to my work as if G-d had taken one of my ribs and put it inside the sculpture, making each sculpture my 'Eve'. I loved each sculpture as Adam loved Eve. Each sculpture became part of me and I became part of my creation. We were inseparable."
"Because I felt each sculpture could be the last I would ever create, I attacked it with such focus, striving for ultimate excellence, that I raised my level of skill and excellence to a level it might otherwise have taken me a lifetime to achieve."
Also the stage of my cancer and my mental state of mind is clearly reflected in my work. When I created MOSES BETRAYED 1, it was early in the diagnosis and I faced death. MOSES’ pathos was an extension of my pain and pathos. When I did the large Portrait of OLD SALT 1, it was in pre-cancer days and I created an anatomically perfect head and a true likeness. But when, two years later, I modelled OLD SALT 2 under the uncertainty of cancer, I identified with this old Russian sailor, with his weather-beaten face and his mass of lines and wrinkles. This time I captured his soul. The first sculpture is a good likeness. The second sculpture reveals the inner man."
"Everyone has to battle a Goliath in their lifetime. I have had many Goliaths to battle, but Cancer was my biggest Goliath. When I created AGAINST GOLIATH, my cancer was gone. I had won my battle against my Goliath just as David had conquered his Goliath. I became David and he became me: Triumphant in Victory, with my head raised to G-d, dedicating the victory to G-d and praising the glory and the power of G-d."
"Since I intend to spend the rest of my life creating the best art I am capable of, I assume that this is G-d's will and I dedicate everything I create to the greatest Creator of all: G-d."
"SAMSON SLAYS THE LION 2"
Very Small David in Loincloth
Bronze, 55 high x 30 x 22 cm (base 22 x 22 cm), 2006
22 high x 12 x 9 inches (base 9 x 9 inches)
Description of Sculpture:
A smaller version of David and Goliath, perfect for desks, tables and bookshelves. This sculpture is identical to the larger “Against Goliath 2L”, except it has more muscular definition, and the Patina is Classic Bronze.
DIANA: GODDESS OF THE HUNT AND ARCHERY
To Family and Close Friends.
I have now officially entered the world of Classical Mythology. My first choice is the Greek / Roman Goddess: DIANA: GODDESS OF THE HUNT AND ARCHERY.
I will create my DIANA, first small. Then life-size. I now share with you my small DIANA sculpture, which is now finished. The mold has been made and the wax corrected. I expect to have the first Bronze in about 3 weeks. This sculpture will measure about 50 cm (19 inches) tall and 65 cm (24 inches) long.
Attached are some photographs of the plasticina / wax sculpture. These are digital "work-in-progress" photos which I use to study the detail of the work as it progresses. They are for my own use. The photos are terrible. The lighting is bad, and plasticina does not photograph. However, they are all I have until I can have the first bronze professionally photographed.
This is a DIANA never before portrayed. All the artists / sculptors before me saw DIANA as a placid buxom Barbie Doll with a Victorian hourglass shape.
My DIANA is truly the Goddess of the Hunt and Archery. She is a slim, feminine, predatory, strong athlete with muscular definition, capable of pulling the strongest longbow. Her breasts are small and firm because an athlete does not have enough body fat to manufacture large breasts without the help of a plastic surgeon.
I was inspired by Emile Bourdelle's "Herakles", which I first saw at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. I was captured by the beauty and force of this masterpiece. I studied it for an hour until it was indelibly engraved in my mind. Accordingly, my DIANA is intended as a sister sculpture to "Herakles".
I have finished the armature for my life-size DIANA. I will work directly from a live model, and I have found the perfect model: A leading "Ms Fitness" contender. She is 36, with a teenage daughter, and she has a perfect body resulting from a lifetime of training.
Do you agree with my interpretation? I invite your comments.
Best Regards to all,
Richard / Dad / GrandDad / Great GrandDad
Again, since a picture is worth a thousand words, the attached photos will speak for me.
Attached are photos of "DIANA 1, GODDESS OF THE HUNT", which were taken by the photographer Avi Hay with proper studio lighting. Avi is published, is the top museum photographer in Israel, and Avi shot the majority of the sculptures in my book. However, I feel that my layman's photos of "DIANA 1", which I took outside my studio against a blue sky are warmer. But Avi's photos, with controlled lighting, give a more accurate depiction of the patination. Direct sunlight makes the Bronze appear lighter.
"DIANA 1" is a limited series of 9. I am happy to state that it appears that the entire series will soon be sold out. I hit the jackpot with this one.
I am now sculpting "DIANA 2" (in Plasticina), which is exactly twice the size of "DIANA 1". I will finish "DIANA 2" in about a week. Thereafter, a mold and bronze will result in about 8 weeks. "DIANA 2" will also be a limited edition of 9.
I am not going to do "DIANA 3", the life-size DIANA that I had originally planned, at this time. These TWO DIANA'S have fulfilled my desire to reach for feminine physical excellence in a young female athlete. Of all the Grecian / Roman Goddesses, DIANA was a perfect choice for my theme.
Now I am ready to move on to a new challenge. I invite your ideas. If any of you would like to suggest a favourite sculpture you'd like me to do, depicting either Classical or Biblical Mythology, I will consider your suggestion.
Richard, Dad, GrandDad, Great GrandDad
10 April 2007
My sculpture of 'DIANA 2, GODDESS OF THE HUNT', will be finished by the end of this week. She will be turned over to A.P. Casting to make a permanent mold before I leave for London for my quarterly medical check-up this Saturday, 14th April. Then I will know she is in safe hands.
DIANA 2, as was DIANA 1, is sculpted completely in Plasticina. When the weather gets warmer (and it is now getting warm in Israel) the plasticina gets soft so it is not wise to leave a plasticina sculpture sitting around. Therefore, I will rest easy in London knowing that my creation is in safe hands.
When I return (in about 3 weeks) the first mold will be finished and the wax will be waiting for me to inspect. If all goes well, the first bronze will be ready about 6 weeks thereafter.
My late departed best friend, Major Robert 'Bob' Wilson, had many careers: Queen's Gurkha, decorated soldier, solicitor, poet and published writer. Bob, the dedicated writer, used to tell me that he dreamed about the people he was creating through the night and he could not wait to wake up in the morning so he could spend time with his creations, watch them develop, become friends with them.
I feel the same way about my sculpture. I work obsessively, non-stop with no breaks, and I fall in love with my creations. 'DIANA 2' is now very real to me, and like Pygmalion who fell in love with his sculpture of Venus, I fully expect the gods to bring my DIANA to life. For me, she now LIVES. (I can tell you from personal experience that this creative obsession, plus positive thinking and the power of prayer are far more effective in keeping my cancer in remission than the best conventional medical treatment known to man.)
DIANA 2 is exactly TWICE the size of DIANA 1. I have attached some very bad studio photos of the plasticina 'WORK IN PROGRESS' next to a rough wax of DIANA 1, with my ugly countenance in between, so you can see the comparative size.
You may note the crescent moon symbol on DIANA'S headband and also on the quiver for her arrows. DIANA, as you may well know, was also Goddess of the Moon. This was beautifully depicted in Titian's wonderful painting of 'DIANA (ARTEMIS) SURPRISED BY ACTAEON'.
DIANA and APOLLO were twins. Both were Archers. Apollo, god of the sun, had a golden bow and golden arrows. DIANA, goddess of the Moon, had a silver bow and silver arrows.
I have not decided on the final patination yet, but I may have the entire sculpture in a Classic rich dark brown and mid-brown patination with only DIANA'S Bow, Arrows and the crescent Moon symbol in SILVER. What do you think?
My next sculpture will probably feature Apollo, although I have already sculpted Apollo when I did King David. Both were beautiful Alpha males. The Old Masters held 'Apollo / King David' and 'Hercules / Samson' as synonymous.
Love to all,
Richard, Dad, GrandDad, Great GrandDad