Richard Heley is an artist, poet, songwriter, storywriter and 'live' performance painter. He exhibits his paintings and drawings regularly in the UK and paints as performance in night-clubs and arts events internationally, often inviting audience participation, an activity that has been particularly successful while working with children. His paintings are represented in collections around the world.
Richard is the 1997/8 Farrago UK Poetry Slam Champion, has a growing reputation as a spoken word performer, telling whacky, funny, surreal stories with an entertaining mix of philosophical and wild stream of consciousness poetry. Richard has just released an album of songs "Perfect Mistakes". He is an experienced 'live painting, art, craft and creative writing workshop leader and has painted more than 40 murals working interactively with children across the UK, USA, Australia. He is available for gigs (See Richard on Youtube performing poetry, songs, stories) and interactive painting with children.contact Richard

Seema Gill writes: Richard Heley, dropped out of a conventional middle class family lifestyle, a restless soul, returned to the UK from Australia in 1974 to lead a life of contemplation and creativity. Played with rock bands, wrote songs and poetry and drew constantly. There followed a very introverted period studying Buddhism, a unique style of paintings emerged, depicting a world where “everything passes, everything changes, everything born knows the process of ageing.” He dislikes to be compared to any impressionist titans of the past, but he surely paints like a poet and writes poetry like an artist. His paintings represent an eager melancholy depicted in vivid colours, soul searching, coming to terms with desire, broad brush strokes, big figures filled with life’s drama and fantasy. He brought home from Australia the stunning colours of a vast landscape.

Art Critic, Nicholas Usherwood writes: Performance painting, poetry slam champion, interactive art with young children, song writing - such activities are not the normal profile of a committed and intensely serious-minded and hugely prolific artist, but then Richard Heley's whole creative career has not followed any remotely conventional pattern. Born in Bedfordshire, England, Richard emigrated to Australia aged 15, with his whole family. It was a liberating decade spent there during which he quickly and, for the first time, became aware of the strength of his creative instincts. In the strongly egalitarian society that Australia then was, Richard Heley found himself among some remarkably gifted and passionate teachers, most particularly Reg Parker in the sculpture class. Though this was not to prove his particular artistic direction, one senses, from the way he talks about this period of his life, that it was the attitude of this particular teacher, which has stayed with him ever since. A nostalgia for home and the fate of his village football team (of which he and an 80 year old man had been virtually the sole supporters!) drew him back to England where he has been painting and performing furiously ever since. As might be expected from all of this, the painting that has emerged, particularly over the last ten years or so as he has slowly started to focus on his own rather than his more collaborative artistic activities, reflects this extreme unconventionality. Frequent return visits to Australia, travels through the islands of Indonesia alongside the liberating impact of working closely with children and writing and performing poetry, has resulted in work teeming with rich and exuberant imagery, bold, painterly touches and brilliant colour - Gauguin meets Chagall meets Sidney Nolan - with English restraint and reticence nowhere to be seen, thank goodness!
‘Welcome to Circus Earth', is the title of a large painting focusing around a tightrope artist walking into an advertising hoarding includes a huge, leering, day-glo green chameleon, a purple translucent fish acrobat, a wriggling baby suspended by his nappies from the high wire artist's rope leading your eye to a figure about to be shot from a cannon! The same generosity of imagination is no less apparent in the smaller acrylics on paper either. Trees and plants transforming into female faces and figures, islands in shimmering in blue Pacific seas forming sparkling abstract compositions and, again, taking on human forms.
Richard Heley, the painter talks a lot about the need he feels to be able to "let go" in the making of such work, and it is his success in doing just that, which enables us, as spectators, to enter his imaginative world with such freedom and exhilaration

Richard writes: “I do not start from any preconceived idea, rather, it is a letting go process. All the accumulated images, desires, frustrations and mental deliberations that I have collected and been amazed or disturbed by, over the seconds, hours, days, weeks, years, are allowed to drop onto the canvas.
People often laugh when I tell them that I am going home to talk to my paintings, however when I look at the images, they reveal aspects of my life and conversations, deliberations, observations, that I've been having with myself and eternity and in studying those images I learn about myself and so create a dialogue on who I am, through what I have done, seen or dream of. So painting and drawing are a means of coming to terms with being alive, an examination and celebration of its ongoing desires and the struggle to come to terms with our mortality. ‘Yearning for calm in the arms of the storm."