Richard Bollinger was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Lansdowne. After attending Temple University and Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia as an illustration major, his professional career began. Since 1969 Bollinger’s flexibility and creativity has allowed him to apply his craft to a number of mediums, and with a variety of methods. These capabilities allowed him to reach a broad audience early in his career as he designed illustrations for children’s books as well as complex drawings for United States Navy. An early position with an ad agency spring boarded his career when his work was rewarded with his first solo exhibition at the Chadds Ford Gallery in the mid 70’s. Opportunity called, and Bollinger answered. Rather than continue in the world
of commercial art, he applied his craft to the imagery he sees throughout his travels. This has become the very material that has graced the galleries of his over 35 solo shows since.
Bollinger is primarily a studio painter, but don’t let that fool you. He is by no means locked up in his home studio. He has a eye for the beautiful world around us, and a passion to bring the images that eye catches to the gallery for all to enjoy. The vast majority of his work is conceived in the field as a small pencil sketch. He then does a rough drawing in color. He may complete several of these sketches in black and white and color until he feels he has perfectly captured the moment with the right design and correct composition. Often, while on location, he takes a photograph so that the fine details, not captured in the sketches, can be easily remembered and brought back to the studio. Once in the studio, with the proper light that allows him to better see the colors on the canvas, he brings these black & white and colored sketches, along with the photographs, together to turn the image he witnessed into a work of art for you and I to cherish.
Today, you can buy his art in limited edition lithographs, giclée prints, time intensive hand colored copperplate etchings, and of course in the metal of a fine Wendell August piece of his design. Every piece offered by Bollinger is signed, and a close inspection of that signature will reveal three letters beneath his name – TYL. These letters can be found as far back as you can find his signature, and their meaning is a commonly asked question. The answer is simple, but to do it justice, you need to hear the reasoning with Richard’s own words:
“Many years ago I had some question…Big ones! “Why am I here”? “What’s life about”? “Where am I going”? As I started my search, through a series of events and relationships, I began to receive answers, answers I never expected, but answers that would eventually have a dramatic impact on my life. After a careful and thoughtful self examination, I recognized that my life was not right with God. This raised more questions but by August 1966 the big ones were satisfied. It was then that I made a life changing decision to begin a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ. Because of that one decision my entire life changed. The artwork I now produce represents just one of the many wonderful things God has done in my life since that day.
In studying the works of the great masters, I was amazed to discover how many of them wrestled with the same big questions that many of us do today. Leonardo DaVinci, on his deathbed, actually apologized to God for “not working as I ought at my craft”. He had created The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa, and countless other masterpieces. Yet at the end of his life, he felt he had not adequately represented God in his work. As an artist, I understand his struggle. I too want people to see God’s beauty, His creation, and His vastness in my paintings. Yet no matter what I do, or how much of nature I represent in my work, it is only a tiny glimpse into the greatness of God. He is much greater that any art or artist. That is why every time I complete a work of art, I include three small initials TYL. They mean “Thank You Lord”. It’s simply my way of expressing to God my appreciation and deep thanks for what he has done and continues to do in my life.”
Today, Richard’s work is represented in over 125 galleries across the United States. He has been honored by the Neographic Association with gold and silver awards of excellence on numerous occasions. He was selected by the United States Department of State “Arts in Embassies Program” which promoted and exhibited his work around the world. Bollinger was awarded the commission to produce the official commemorative painting for Valley Forge National Historic Park for their centennial celebration. He is frequently commissioned by corporate and charitable organizations. Over 150 of his original works have been reproduced as signed, limited editions. His paintings can be found in private and corporate collections across the country.
When Bollinger is not working hard on his next masterpiece you can find him with his main passion in life, his family. Bollinger and his wife Pat live in West Chester Pennsylvania. They have four grown children and seven absolutely brilliant grandchildren.
Next time you pick up your Wendell August piece designed by Richard Bollinger, remember the man who brought the beautiful imagery to our die makers. Richard Bollinger – A Master of the canvas for over 30 Years.