Richard Garriott-Stejskal, Watchtower 3, stoneware, 8"
Richard Garriott-Stejskal was born in Annicortes, Washington, in 1944, but grew up in Omaha Nebraska, where his father moved the family after his return from World War II. After receiving his BFA in Sculpture from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he worked for a short time in the media center for Omaha public schools. Following this, he briefly worked alongside an Architectural sculptor. Later, while in graduate school at the University of New Mexico, he worked at a local Veteran's medical center. After this, he decided to finish his MA, feeling "that the only thing [an] MFA...was good for was teaching in a university...." It was 1970,and Garriott-Stejskal says that at the time there were no programs or organizations for art therapy, "so I invented my own version of it." He became the first registered art therapist in New Mexico and worked at the Veteran's Administration for 25 years, all the while pursuing and exhibiting his artwork. After taking an early retirement in 1995, he began working part-time as Gallery Director for Very Special Arts Gallery and was the staff trainer for the Enabled Arts Center for Very Special Arts New Mexico.
Garriot-Stejskal’s work concerns the human condition. Not specific people, but as a kind of general statement about the condition of human-kind at the dawning of the 21st Century. Regarding this, he states “I work using the human figure and head as a starting point. By putting a recognizable human form in front of the viewer I make it easier for the viewer to connect with my work. I juxtapose the figure with elements that may at first seem discordant in order to create metaphors that I hope will shine light on man’s place in the world. My work can be funny, sad, scary and at times (depending on the people), all three. I love word plays and I love visual puns. Like T.S. Eliot’s “J. Alfred Prufrock” I hope my work makes the viewer smile and at the same time squirm with recognition.