Leon Richmond was born in Defiance, Ohio in 1961. His father moved their large Catholic family from Lafayette, Indiana to Yakima, Washington to open a Burger Chef restaurant in 1967. The subsequent years in the 1970’s spent over a hamburger grille and deep fryer, serving an eager and hungry public Happy Meals, cheap collectibles, high-fructose corn syrup and grease would in-due help inform his art work tremendously.
After graduating high school in 1979, Richmond continued working at his father’s Burger Chef, eventually enrolling in Yakima Valley Community College. After being expelled for poor grades and truancy, his father insisted that he attend Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Washington (a suburb south of Seattle) to study accounting and become a CPA. In four years he eventually graduated in the top 56% of his class. Not pursuing an accounting career at that time, Richmond worked for 17 years at three different Alberstons grocery stores around Washington State. In hindsight, the time spent in the grocery store business would be as equally informative on his art as was his time working at his father’s Burger Chef. The grocery stores provided a more or less museum of pop culture and capitalism to critique and absorb. Plugging along with his life, he began attending art walks in downtown Seattle around the late-1980’s. It was around this time when he developed a curiosity for contemporary art. At first it was a distraction to his monotonous life. But it would eventually develop into a full-blown passion. In the years that followed, he would spend countless hours in art museums, galleries, watching documentaries and reading at the Seattle library.
After years of working soul sucking jobs, married and divorced twice by now, he unenthusiastically took a job as an accountant in 1999. In 2006, Richmond came to Norman, Oklahoma to visit an old high school friend. Wanting a new start, he applied for and eventually accepted a Staff Accounting II position at The University of Oklahoma.
Continuing his passion for art anywhere he could find it, he didn’t start making any until fairly recently. It wasn’t until he befriended Prof. Bob Dohrmann at the University of Oklahoma School of Visual Arts in 2016, who ultimately encouraged Richmond to, “Start creating stuff, why not?” With absolutely no natural talent in any of the traditional fine arts, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics (he does have “some” digital art knowledge), Dohrmann suggested that Richmond turn his decades long hobby of thrift store, antique and LP record collecting into an art practice. After he completed approx. 30 pieces, Prof. Dohrmann insisted that Richmond exhibit his work and offered to assist him in finding venues. Richmond was very reluctant, but eventually agreed. Completely self-taught, the work presented in this website is the product of Richmond’s obsessive work ethic since May, 2018. Introverted and humble by nature, he has no plans to stop “creating stuff” anytime soon.
Richmond has been influenced by (in no particular order) Marcel Duchamp, Dadaism, Pop Art, Surrealism, propaganda, the strong women in his life, mass consumerism, the color UHF blue, the Fluxus community (Yoko Ono was a member), vintage collecting examination, post-modern appropriation strategies, re-mix theory, British rock bands, advertising, grocery stores, the rock band Devo, trash, the Church of the Subgenius, Winston Smith, outsider music, Robert Rauchenberg, Jane Hammond, Stimulus Progression, Marisol Escobar, John Waters, the Columbia River, why does g(G?)od randomly kill innocent (slash) good people?, kitsch, punk rock, DIY strategies, Mad magazine, SNL, Roger Corman, his college professors, all his clever smart assed friends over the years, Jean Baudrillard, his life experiences in Washington State, home lighting, low brow culture, history documentaries, YouTube trolling, deconstruction, new wave art bands, and the general absurdity of being a human in the 20th and 21st Centuries.