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BROUHAHAART talks to Richard Marc Crosbie

Updated: May 5, 2022

Richard was featured on Brouhahaart 3D virtual "Blank Walls" exhibition to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.

Richard Marc Crosbie is a Product Designer originally from South Wales, UK and has been living in Hong Kong for the past 25 years, working as a Toy Designer.

He has recently begun expanding his capabilities to include sketching and painting where he draws inspiration from his city home and local cultural surroundings.

He enjoys exploring a range of media including pens, inks, pastels & watercolours and practices both ‘Plein air’ urban sketching done on-site as well as working on longer studies In the studio.

His aim to capture the reality, beauty and wonder of life in the city across different scales, from both cityscapes to the more personal individual figure.

Tell us a little about your background?

If my life to date were to be told in 3 chapters, the 1st would be about my formative years (with a bad haircut) in a small mining village in South Wales, then there would be a few missing pages probably lost in student unions bars someplace. The 2nd chapter would tell of my life in Hong Kong for the past 25 years working in the toy industry as a Product Designer and my trials and tribulations navigating the corporate world. And the 3rd, short chapter, as an Artist has only just started to be written in the last 2 years.

Why art?

Art has been my ‘thing’ ever since I was a child. At some point in the education system, I was funnelled into being as practical with my artistic abilities as I could, so ‘Design’ was my version of ‘learning a trade’ whilst still having a creative outlet. It was a decision that I do not regret as it led to a successful career designing toys, although that all changed due to turmoil with the global economy that impacted my previous employer. So, whilst studying online & job searching, I picked up my old sketchbook and started painting and drawing again. To begin with it was just something therapeutic and fun to do. Only after I started to upload my work to social media and received real interest from others did I begin to see more potential for my art.

What motivates you to create and why have you chosen your particular subject matter and medium?

I’m still wondering myself about why exactly I have now ‘returned’ back to more traditional forms of creativity such as drawing and painting. I think one reason is a desire to return back to my creative ‘roots’ as it were. After spending 20 years of staring at computer screens, using a keyboard and a mouse it feels liberating to pick up a pencil and brush again. Also, I have come to realise that I am in a unique position both geographically and culturally and in a very interesting period of time.

I am a Welsh Expat living in Hong Kong with design training and the ability to record subjects and scenes of my local environment in a way that appeals to others who have a love for and connection with this amazing city. Now I feel that I am making up for lost time and find constant inspiration from the rich cultural & urban tapestry of Hong Kong which has been my main focus. I enjoy being out in the streets sketching from life and love the amazing energy and life that this city has, despite all the difficulties we’ve experienced lately.

What's your biggest barrier to being an artist? How do you address it?

Obviously, there’s the financial question. How to make a living as an artist and how to break into the bigger art world. It’s a question that I asked myself at school, and the ‘fear of failure’ was the reason why I chose to study design and pursue a career as a product designer. Now, I am facing the same fears again, although this time I have a lot more real-world problem-solving experience and a dedicated work ethic. My ambition to breaking through in the art world so to speak is taking a back seat to my enjoyment in serving customers who share the same attraction to Hong Kong as I have.

I have chosen what I consider a very hands-on approach to creating my brand by selling my art directly to customers at various market events and meeting people in person on the streets whilst I am out and about sketching and painting. For the time being I am more interested in catering to people who love Hong Kong and wish to capture memories for themselves through my artwork than I am about the superficial ‘art world’.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given and professionally, what’s your goal?

‘Always be kind to waiters’ is one maxim I live by. Not just that, but the general message of always striving to be kind to others no matter their status is something I try to live by. As for having a ‘goal?’ I suppose my short-term goal would be to have a solo exhibition of my work so that I can stand up and see for myself that ‘Hey, I really am an artist!’.

How do you go about getting known?

By entering Virtual Exhibitions and hoping to get noticed! Ha! (That’s a semi joke!) Seriously though, it’s a question that I’m still looking for an answer to and trying to figure out as I go. The very first sketch that I did in this new chapter was in July 2020. Since then, I have tried to build my brand and my business by one satisfied customer at a time. It gives me immense satisfaction and reward when I meet someone who is willing to purchase one of my artworks or art prints, and I feel instinctively that I want to make that person feel that they have received the very best service & experience. It’s my way of saying thank you. Slowly this approach seems to be working as positive word of mouth has helped me attract new customers.

Is there anything else you would like to add of interest for our audience?

I don’t know where my art journey is going to take me, but already I can feel myself growing and improving. Every new artwork brings a new challenge, a new learning, a new opportunity to explore and a new chance to bring joy to someone who wants to share my art.

Whether I continue to focus on subjects relating to Hong Kong or if I try other new subjects, I am looking forward to continuing this journey and welcome anyone who would like to join me.

Discover more about Richard:

BROUHAHAART gallery specializing in 3D Virtual exhibitions and curated Virtual galleries, serving a Global community as well as professional galleries, organizations and Artists.

Virtual exhibitions provide an experience that is as close as possible to an actual gallery or museum visit.

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