PAINTER. SRI LANKA.
My name is Ricky Lee Gordon, born in 1984 in Johannesburg South Africa, currently living in Nilwella Village, Sri Lanka. I used to have these words written in my studio for many years. ‘Removing the greyness from the soul of the city is the job of artists, musicians and poets.’ I was an am still very inspired to contribute to society in a positive way with my art, I used to spend allot of time travelling and painting large public murals, though In the last years since moving to sri lanka to build my studio here, i have been focusing more on my practice, an internal relationship between my art and my way of living, unifying them for a more simple and slow lifestyle. The studio becomes a temple, a refuge, less focused on an outward contribution but more on my inner journey of joy and equanimity.
My first inspirations come from skateboarding graphics in the early 90s, that led me to graffiti and finally onto more serious large scale murals, and onto an appreciation for more contemporary and fine arts . But I had always decided to put my own art second and focus on being a producer, curator owning my own gallery, art residency and non profit community outreach art program for many years in Cape Town, South Africa as I believed there was a need to help grow the artistic community there. At 27 I decided to close it all down and focus on my art. I then travelled for mural projects for a few years, and at 30 having never formally studied, I got a scholarship to study classical drawing and painting in LA.I wanted to develop more as an artist. But after one year I dropped out with the new dream to build a studio on the beach in Sri Lanka where I could slow down and develop a style and process in line with my ideals.
Painting has become a practice, a refuge, to be in my studio in stillness focused and present. I work with natural materials like bee wax, charcoal and natural dyes on raw canvas ,as I want to be connected to the materials, with an honest intention and process so I can output my emotions and energy into the materials and into the work. For now the subject has become less important to me than the materials and process, a reverence for a present moment mindfulness, a meditation and In some cases, when I am in the right state, I try to finish some paintings in one sitting to capture this, similar to my experience with surfing.
In 2019 I built my studio/house on a beach headland in Sri lanka, I designed the house and studio in a way that assisted me in the process of how I wanted to approach my art, yearning for, but had yet achieved, I was unsure and disconnected with the work i was making. Everything in the house is handmade with a small team of local carpenters and masons, the space is minimal and open, with all the ocean side of the house glass doors allowing for the morning sunrise light to stream in through the house, this is my favourite time to paint, I am 2 min from my surfbreak so it’s easy for me to surf twice a day in between painting sessions. I also love to cook in the kitchen so it’s all part of my practice now. It’s all connected. The work allows for the way of life and the way of life allows for the work, the house/studio allows for this journey.
For me art has been a way to listen closer to who I am, to experience and deal with the world around me, allowing me to create, express and evolve. A personal never ending journey.