"The plasticity of the artist ‘s relationship to the material is an inexhaustible dialogue. It is capable of ever renewing itself.. It is like the elements of high music, crafted and composed until the sound creates a space ever increasing our emotional capacities for feeling the richness of being alive.""We are the eyes and ears of the universe. Through the arts it is up to us to bear witness."
Richard Pitts was born in Fort Monmouth NJ. to a military family, they traveled throughout the United States later settling in Clifton NJ. After graduating Clifton High School Richard attended Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, there he met the Painter/ Sculptor Reuben Kadish. In 1960 he moved to New York City, set up a studio and in 1961 attended Pratt Institute where he met his second mentor, painter Ernie Briggs. Both Kadish and Briggs remained lasting friends and inspirations.
During this time his friendship with fellow student/artist Mark Zimetbaum developed. Marc was a founding member of the New York Studio School. He inspired Richard with the ability to pursue the artist-run spirit that led to setting up his own studio, gallery and teaching opportunities.
After a tour in Europe with the US Army for three years in 1965 Richard returned to Pratt Institute and graduated in 1968. He established his studio on 18 St. in New York City. During this time Richard was one of the founding members of the First Street Gallery.
The studio on 18th street is where he first met his lifelong friend Mario Busoni. His friendship with Mario gave him a rich appreciation for the transplanted European culture in Post War New York City. The building on 18th street was occupied by a number of artists and set up an atmosphere that was a catalyst for Richard’s artistic productivity.
Richard was offered a teaching position at the Kansas City Art Institute. He sublet his studio in NY and taught painting in Kansas City Mo. from 1970 to 1973.
After a scholarship with the New York Studio School in Paris, He returned from Paris to New York with his wife, Painter Linda Scott and infant son Morgan to start a new teaching position in the Fine Arts Department at The Fashion Institute of Technology. A prolific artist Richard exhibited paintings and prints in New York as well as nationally, continually evolving, his work was always inspired and new.
In 1986 Richard met Painter/Designer Karen Gentile. In 1988 they married and purchased an old farm in Pennsylvania. They divided their time between New York City and the country where Richard began building their studios and where they continue to be inspired and productive in their work.
In 2003 Richard along with, Melissa Starke and Marcin Wlodarczyk (then Fine Arts students) began “Urban Studio” a club designed to foster student involvement and pro-active self-driven art events at FIT. This was very successful and led to the later development of “Urban Studio Unbound” founded by Richard with (now) Fine Arts Dept. Coordinator, Melissa Starke and (now) head of Printmaking technology, Marcin Wlodarczyk as the primary founders. The mission was artists/graduates connecting and developing art beyond FIT. Currently “US+U” , Urban Studio Unbound, is a successful organization which presently houses a gallery, under a grant from Yonkers, NY, with Melissa Starke as Curator and with many active members they have accrued an impressive list of exhibitions and other accomplishments.
In 2004 Richard began exhibiting sculpture. Always involved in sculpture as well as painting, sculpture developed as a major direction after attending Artist Welding workshops with sculptor David Boyajian, owner of the Sculpture Barn, a gallery space and teaching workshops in New Fairfield Ct.
In 2009 Richard set up a sculpture studio for welding metals on the farm in Pa.
After retiring from FIT as a full professor in 2010 Richard continues to paint and to exhibit large scale outdoor sculpture.