Richard Buxani was already 39 years old when he started venturing into the art world in 2009. Prior to that, he never saw himself as an artist. “Not even in my wildest dream,” he says.
Now that he is a sculptor, he realizes that he has been working all his life to become an artist. “It must have been destined. All my life’s experiences have become a tool to be able to express myself in metal.”
Richard describes his creative career as slow and steady, until he went full time in 2017. Since then, it was a rollercoaster ride.
In 2018, he had his first solo exhibit for Eskinita Art Gallery at the 1st Ortigas Art Festival. In the same year, his “Re-imagination of St. George” became a finalist in the GSIS nationwide competition for sculpture. He has done a lot of group exhibitions and several solo exhibits. In 2019, he had exhibits in the US, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Egypt and South Korea. It was a landmark year for him and he was looking forward to a more vibrant 2020, until the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
Given that premise, I somehow anticipated his answer that stability was among the challenges of being an artist. After all, the pandemic adversely affected the art community. But Richard told me what’s more challenging than that, “personally, the hardest part for me is remaining significant. We all have stories to tell, and I have to create a narrative that is my own.”
He adds that, one of the lessons he gained from the pandemic is to make the most out his life every single day. “I work as if I am living in borrowed time. I spend as much time as I can with the family. I always take each day with great enthusiasm and thankfulness. Live without regrets. Work and play like there’s no tomorrow.”
From Architecture to Sculpture
Richard, who holds a degree in Architecture, narrates that it was his friend and sculptor, Ronald Castrillo, who introduced him to his creative side. He used to ask Ronald to make artworks for his architectural projects. Eventually, Ronald offered to mentor him on metal sculpting.
Some of his artist friends — Emmanuel Garibay, Alfredo Esquillo and Renato Habulan—have greatly influenced him as well. But for Richard, art has always been personal. He describes it as an artist’s own personal brand of aesthetics of their own experiences and iterations.
“I’ve always defined my art to be raw emotions and brutal realities, but artistry always evolve. I am open to new things and new concepts. Technically speaking, there are more ways to explore old and new materials than I can ever learn in my lifetime.”
Recently, he has been working on bimetal welding combining brass with copper, which he says is not easy because each metal has its own characteristics.
Richard’s process is the cut, bend, and weld method. The components are cut from sheet metals, hand bended, and welded. The biggest piece he has done is a pair of 11-foot-tall sculptures.
Paying it Forward
In his own way, Richard also helps new artists. For him, it’s a privilege to be able to help out the art community by providing opportunity to budding artists, the same way that he was given that chance when he was just starting.
“There are so many talented artists who need a break, some have already given up even before they were given a chance to exhibit their works. I just want to be able to provide them the opportunity, as best as I can.”
To young artists and those who feel that being an artist is in their destiny, Richard has this advice: “Always tell a story, your story. Dare to be different, nobody wants to be just part of the crowd. Artistry is experiential, we need to be honest and true.”