I paint, draw, write, play music and learn about how these things can support people to be together.

I work with the learning disability arts organisation Heart n Soul as their Associate Artist. I was a part of the Conditions Studio Programme in Croydon from 2018 - 2021. I was an artist-in residence within Tate’s Schools and Teachers department. I founded the not-for-profit organisation Constant Flux, wrote ‘D.I.Y. as Privilege: A Manifesto’  published through Rough Trade Books, and played in several punk bands.

    Please get in contact if you have any questions, ideas or collaborations you want to talk about.

    CV & statement

    I also sell direct from my studio, see a current list of available works.

    Drum Also Gathering


    Version of a gathering of musicians at 'The Drum Also' that took place over a couple of hours on Friday 9th July in the basement of the Whitgift Centre, Croydon.

    Musicians that attended - Ned Smith, Riccardo Trissino Dabire, Rosie Ridgway, Lindsay Corstorphine, Jessica Ashman, James Heath & Richard Phoenix.

    Featured as part of Marky Leckey’s NTS show  30.11.2021

    Full audio version above.

    Video excerpt below - 


    Fusing Time 
    2021
    Painted drumkit used in performance

    Just Dropped In’
    2021
    120cm x 125cm
    Oil on canvas and mdf




    Installed at the Conditions End of Year Show:
    Review in Art Monthly




    Zoomin'

    by Richard Phoenix and Robin Smith

    View project on SKELF



    Zoomin' is the first piece in a series of four exhibitions on the theme of 'Gesture' and exploring what this might mean in a virtual context. Each exhibition has been created specifically for Skelf, working with artists whose practice often relies upon a physical encounter, and reimagining their work immaterially to see what further possibilities are presented.

    "We have been meeting nearly every Friday from 11:00am until 12:30pm, starting on 10th Nov 2020. Connected over video calls, we catch-up, paint and draw alongside one another whilst listening to music, and then show each other what we have made that day.

    Working in a time of so many unknowns, it offered a gesture of support, solidarity and consistency; giving each other the time and space to create, share and dance. This is an attempt to condense a year’s worth of us working alongside one another.

    We now want to offer this same gesture to you - we invite you to watch these videos, play with the images, work alongside us and listen to music."

    Add to Playlist



    ‘RIDE’

    Installation & performance
    Oct 21st - Nov 21st 2021
    with Big Rat Studios



    Ride (2021)
    Dimensions variable
    Oil & charcoal on cut out and acrylic on drum stick.

    ---

    Ride - a eulogy (2021)

    Start writing, drawing ink from the pen and the words fail.

    Pick up charcoal and start to draw, dust for dust, the image of a hand comes out.

    Picking up, putting down. New beginnings and recent losses.

    We just lost Chris. He picked up the sticks a long time ago and my encounter with his playing led me into a new way of seeing the world. Led me into a different life, created a fork in the road and allowed me to find purpose.

    His playing, the way he played a simple beat - it’s the thing that got me - drew me in. The sway, the bounce, the shift and push - not many people are recognisable behind a a backbeat - creating the frame for others to fill in, to provide the song. The details. The songs can remain but the foundations will shift.

    Realising a shift within my own body, a burst eardrum causing me to halt and slow, put the sticks down. It created an ending, I had to let go.

    It can take time to celebrate the value of putting down and picking up something new, allowing space for things to unfold along an undefined line.

    The line that started with Chris eventually led to me to Alicia, and Jacqueline her mother. It is parents like her that should be in charge, support structures that elevate through and with love. She would hate me saying that as it was never meant to be about her.

    We just lost Jacqueline. Another beat stopped. I still don’t know how to process these things, I want to do it in the right way but I’m stopped by thoughts of perfection - needing to forget those thoughts and allow mistakes to become the right thing.

    To be led, to trust the voice.

    Alicia said on stage once, “From the stomach and the heart with passion”

    A letting go, lighting a candle. It’s not enough, it is enough, you want the rhythms to continue, the ghost notes will be heard in the background.

    ---
    Text read as part of performance on the 21st October 2021 at Hastings Bookshop


    “21”



    A shape enters my view. There’s a connection between us - through hands, through a smile and a smile back. Then stride and shuffle on to where you want to go. Concentration, sound, music, mess. The moves are there, studied, replicated, repeated imperfectly but perfect. Joy exudes, unselfconscious action, dancing and laughter persists. A lightness throughout my body, a response to your body occupying the same room as everyone else.

    All this somehow is tied up with a recent memory - a man shoots and kills 58 people because he is afraid. Afraid of what they might do, of who they are, of others like them.

    Way back as this man’s being was taking shape, tests were available to check for ‘defects’, ‘abnormalities’, ‘problems’. Before his body moved from his mother’s into the world he would have passed these tests.

    As he grew though he found defects, abnormalities and problems with others. Others agreed with him, or he found others to agree, or those others found him. He found these problems with other people so bad that he decided the world would be a better place without them. He felt justified in his actions.

    In return for what he did we give our outrage, solemn outrage, disgust, horror, we say we are all one, I am you, you are me, we are together.



    The shape that entered my view, exited and didn’t return. The news of his death devastated a community. He was taken too soon, died suddenly and far too young. Before his body passed from his mother's into the world the same tests on his body - that the man who killed 58 people passed - would have had a different result.

    “If you are faced with this choice you will get support to help you make a decision.” [1]

    Someone close to me once said that if the body they were bringing into the world had failed these tests then they would have prevented it from entering the world. They said they would be too afraid of the life it would have. They believed the world is made for those that pass the test, not those that do not and the struggle in fighting this would be too much. I understood.

    “The best case scenario is they might become an artist or a dancer.” [2]

    You are no longer here and I don’t know in what ways you will be missed. Are you; dead; buried in the ground; in heaven; are you gone last week; a shame; a sadness; a young person; work; a project; a friend; an inspirational man; a DJ; a case study; a loss; a force to be reckoned with; an education; a reason.

    Words attach to your memory, like they did your whole life. There are some words that say nothing of who you are. Time folds in on itself, you are now free to move and exist anyway you want. Life was better for your body in this world.



    Text originally appeared in ‘Underpinned by the Movements of Freighters’ exhibition zine, curated by Joe Moss and held at The Florence Trust from the 1st - 10th July 2021.