Words by Ana L. Roman
Just in time for the Summer Olympics, Richard MacDonald has captured the spirit of the global event by commemorating the 20th Anniversary of “Flair Across America.” Born out of a relationship between Billy Paine, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) Chairman and CEO, and Richard MacDonald, a master of figurative sculpture, the sculpture celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. One cannot also ignore the fact that it reflects the credo of the Olympic Games; glorious victory over struggle.
“The Gymnast and the monumental Flair Across America are a celebration of the
triumph of the human spirit,” says Richard MacDonald. Former Olympic gymnast and three-time
world champion Kurt Thomas, whom the “flair” gymnastics move is named after, said, “Flair Across America” is a meaningful tribute to all athletes who push their own limits and
spend their lives striving to be the best they can be.”
In the work, we can clearly see that the circle, represents perfection and symbolizes the world itself and the unity of humankind. By depicting the athlete with circle firmly in hand, the artist has given symbolic voice to the hope that world harmony is ultimately within humanity’s grasp.
We spoke to MacDonald regarding advice to young artists and inspiration.
Why does the act of acrobatics and gymnastics capture your imagination?
It begun when I was an illustrator represented in New York City, commissioned to do paintings for famous athletes and the 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984 and finally 1996 Olympics. The hard work, determination and perfection that Olympic athletes exude is inspirational.
What advice can you give to young up and coming artists working and living today?
Draw, draw, draw, work hard, stay confident and find a mentor. Then never give up.
What motivated you to land on the shores of Carmel, CA?
Born in Pasadena, I grew up in north Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz. After returning from the East coast from a dozen years, the energy and the beauty of Carmel and Monterey Bay pulled me in. No choice.
“Flair Across America” is on view at Dawson Cole Fine Art