Running with… The Insta-Illustrator

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Some people call running an art form. Lori Richmond has made that cliche into a reality with her illustrtations. Born out of a simple and beautiful idea; create a piece of art using a subject she saw while out running and create it in the time it took to complete that run. As soon as I saw her illustrations on Instagram I was instantly charmed. They are wonderful, joyful and surprisingly detailed. If I’m honest I’m struggling to find words for how much I’m in love with the concept and the art itself. She named the project #ViewFromMyRun and vows to post them on Instagram no matter how they come out but so far they have come out stunning! I caught up with Lori to see how she came up with the idea and how she hopes it will continue.

How did you come up with the idea?

I am a children’s book author-illustrator, and my book projects require a lot of intense work over several months’ time. I had just handed off final art for two books, and was looking for a creative “reset.” I’ve never been totally consistent with personal projects, but thought it might be just what I need. One night I was out running over the Manhattan Bridge (I’m from NYC) and was taken aback by a gorgeous sunset. I stopped to snap a quick photo on my phone, and as I continued my run I thought about painting the scene when I got home. Then I thought about trying to paint it in the same amount of time I was running. The whole idea just clicked in that moment.

Do you think running and art go well together?

There are so many parallels between running and art-making. They both can be very solitary activities. They are both incredibly meditative. In both art and running, you have days where you feel like you’re doing great and days where you don’t, and when that happens you have to push through to get to the good stuff. In both running and art, you have to show up and do the work. You won’t get better at your craft or faster in your miles unless you commit to putting in the hours. Perhaps most importantly, the idea of running your own race translates very well to art-making. As artists, we compare ourselves a lot (ever hear of “imposter syndrome?”) and running teaches you to focus on yourself and your own progress. Everyone has their own training plan and individual circumstance, and that has nothing to do with you. Stay within yourself.

When you’re running what helps you pick out the subject you’ll paint when you get back?

Looking for the subject as I run is sort of like a fun game for me. Usually I just try and let it happen organically and pick something that I think is interesting or makes me want to stop in my tracks. I really like to draw architecture, and New York City has so many gorgeous details if you just look UP! I see so many neck-down “cell phone zombies” when I’m out on the sidewalk and it makes me sad. I hope my art encourages people to look at the beauty around them in their own neighborhood. The sequence of the series can also influence what I choose. If I drew buildings in the previous piece, then maybe I’ll try to look for something more object-based. Or if I’ve done a few black and white pieces, I’ll find something that looks like it will be fun to paint in color.

Is it a case of doing it as soon as you get in from the run or doing it a day or two after?

All of the drawings except for one were done on the same day as my run. I gave myself the day off from drawing for Mother’s Day (that was a 12-miler.) But I always, always shower before drawing.

Where do you see the project going from here?

I’m already 6 out of 9 complete for the races required for guaranteed entry into the TCS NYC Marathon in 2018. My next race is the Queens10K in June, so, after I’m done resting from Brooklyn Half, I’ll re-start the series for Queens and my other races this year. I expect it to evolve into the visual record of my journey to my first 26.2!

Finally morning coffee or morning run?

Both. Coffee first, then run.

You can follow Lori on Instagram @Loririchmonddraws and see her other illustrations on her website

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