Kirk Richards studied with prominent American painter and teacher Richard Lack in Minneapolis from 1976-1980 after earning his BFA and MA degrees in art from West Texas State University. Kirk returned to Amarillo with his wife Linda in 1981. The following year he founded Atelier Richards and taught there until 1988 when he was commissioned to paint three murals for the centennial of First Baptist Church in Amarillo. From 2013 to 2017, Richards worked for Old Parkland, Dallas Texas, executing several historical paintings.
Also well known for his still life and genre paintings, Richards was one of only 24 artists nationwide to be certified by the American Portrait Society and has painted many of Amarillo’s noted citizens including James Setapen, former director of the Amarillo Symphony, operatic soprano Mary Jane Johnson, Dr. James Rauscher, former chairman of the music department at Amarillo College, the late Sister Olivia Prendergast, founder of Saint Anthony’s Hospice, and the late Metropolitan Opera tenor, Timothy Jenkins.
He has exhibited in prestigious exhibitions including a 4 man exhibition with artists Richard Lack, Don Koestner, and Stephen Gjertson at the Newington Cropsey Foundation in Hastings on the Hudson New York entitled, Beauty: A Rebirth of Relevance; An exhibition of the American Society of Classical Realism (ASCR) Guild, also at the Newington Cropsey Foundation in February, 2001; A collaborative exhibition of the ASCR Guild and the California Art Club in San Fransisco entitled: East Coast Ideals-West Coast Concepts; a private showing at Sotheby’s in New York City; group shows such as Classical Realism-The Other 20th Century, and Painters of Light, the art of the Boston School. In 2011 Richards won Best of Show in the National Juried Biennial Exhibition at the Amarillo Museum of Art, and in 2013 Richards won the Goddess of Art Award (best of show) in the first annual National Invitational Exhibition of the American Society of Traditional Artists in Scottsdale, Arizona. As a member of the American Artist Professional League he won the Lee M. Loeb Memorial Award for Excellence in 1987, as well as many other national awards and recognitions including the Jurors choice awards in both the Salon International Exhibition in Jackson Mississippi and the Night Walker National Juried Exhibition in Fort Collins Colorado.
In 2002 Richards and fellow ASCR Guild member Stephen Gjertson exhibited together in a two man exhibit entitled For Glory and For Beauty, at the Biblical Arts Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2004, Richards was selected from over one thousand entries as one of ten finalists in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition. In 2004 he also was given a one man exhibition at the Amarillo Museum of Art; Kirk Richards, Classical Realist. Richards exhibited with Stephen Gjertson and Steve Armes in a group known as Triad: Three American Painters. They exhibited in New York in 2006 and 2010 and in Dallas, 2007.
Richards was a contributing author to the book Realism in Revolution: The Art of the Boston School. He was interviewed in, and his work was featured on the cover of the June 2003 issue of American Artist magazine. He was the subject of a feature article in both the September 2005 issue of Southwest Art magazine and the April 2008 issue of The Artist’s Magazine; in the American Society of Portrait Artists Portrait Signature magazine in 2001; in the June/July 1991 issue of International Fine Art Collector; and in 1987 in the Classical Realism Quarterly. He wrote an article for the Classical Realism Journal concerning the classical training of Joseph H. Sharp, E.I. Couse, and Bert Geer Phillips, three of the original artists of the Taos Founders entitled “From the Academy to the Pueblo,” and in 2002 wrote a response to David Hockney’s book, Secret Knowledge, which was published in the Classical Realism Journal. For Glory and For Beauty, Practical Perspectives on Christianity and the Visual Arts, co-authored by Minnesota artist Stephen Gjertson, is a unique volume dealing with its subject from the viewpoint of the professional artist.
He has held memberships in several professional organizations including the American Artists Professional League, The American Portrait Society-certified, The American Society of Portrait Artists, Oil Painters of America, and Portrait Society of America. He was the only artist ever to be elected to join the original roster of the ASCR Full Guild of Artists. He was Vice President of the ASCR and a member of the reorganized artists guild of the ASCR until it ceased operations. He is an honorary member of the American Society of Traditional Artists (ASTA) and an honorary Living Master at the Art Renewal Center (ARC).