Martin Richardson Artist Biography
Martin Richardson is a practical craftsman whose work is an incredible marriage between art and technology, where both disciplines inform each other. Getting his big break working with David Bowie, he has gone on to become a major innovator in a state-of-the-art medium and the artist who brought Marilyn Monroe back to life in an unforgettable lenticular print.Martin Richardson began his career as a photography student at the Royal College of Art under the tutorship of Michael Langford and John Hedgecoe. He experimented deeply with his photography techniques and became the first ever student in the world to be awarded a Master of Arts in holographic art. After receiving his Ph.D, Richardson initially focused on the commercial application of holography, working on developments in the mass production of holograms on banknotes. He also worked with Third Dimension and then his own company on commercial mass-produced flicker pictures of wildlife which were sold in Harrods and Selfridges. "In the early days people were very quick to pigeon hole holographic art, there wasn't room for it to develop. Because of the use of holography in security, on credit cards for instance, the actual art side of things came to a standstill", Richardson explains.
Everything changed for Richardson in 1996 when he attended an exhibition of pop legend David Bowie's work in Cork Street, London. Unexpectedly Bowie himself arrived at the gallery late in the evening and Richardson and he got chatting. It turns out Bowie was a collector of holograms and very interest in the new technology. He told Richardson that he had a project in mind that perhaps he could work on, "But it wasn't until 1999 I was summoned to his New York studio to work on his first and only lenticular cover for the launch of his album "Hours", It was a dream come true", says Richardson. He attended a photo shoot with Tim Bret Day and Bowie asked whether he could see some 3D potential. After the shoot, Richardson recorded 15 minutes of Bowie with an adapted 35mm Mitchel movie camera to use in the creation of a hologram and lenticular. The initial release of the album included 500,000 lenticular covers developed by Richardson from Rex Ray's album artwork.
Since Bowie, Richardson has gone on to work with Martin Scorsese, Sir Peter Blake and Will Self, amongst others. He's very hands on, working in the lab and studio. He has been developing the medium, working on the mechanics which has included developing his own software and source codes that talk straight to specialist printers. Richardson was offered the position of Professor of Modern Holography at De Montfort University, Leicester, where he now has access to state of the art facilities to continue pushing the boundaries of optical technology. He believes that "the technology in itself is an art and has potential to display new art and new ideas". Richardson has been a visiting Professor at the Kun-Shan University in the Graduate School of Visual Communication Design in Taiwan. Since 2004 he has been the Chair of Holographic Art at the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) in the USA. His holographic and lenticular art has been exhibited internationally, including at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Titusville Digital Arts Festival in Florida, USA."What Professor Martin Richardson has achieved in relation to the science of art is significant". (Art of England)Read our editorial featuring Martin Richardson and lenticular technology: Looking at the Lenticular Illusion.