Man has been creating sculpture since the beginning of time. The earliest found sculptures carved from bone date back 35,000 to 45,000 BCE and appear to have had religious and political purposes. Clay figures have been found in the area of Turkey dating back to 7,200 BCE. Over time, the artwork became more sophisticated, and the breadth of materials used increased.
Hollis Richardson connects with that primal urge to create artwork from rough, unshapen materials. He enjoys the tactile experience of touching and feeling the texture of the materials and the labor involved in shaping something wonderful from a rock or lump of clay. Like Michelangelo, he finds hidden shapes in stone to release into sculpture. Working with stone sculpture is a subtractive process and more technically difficult than modeling clay. It is unique in that there is no way to correct an error. If too much material is removed, it cannot be replaced. Hollis works mostly with soapstone and alabaster, which are relatively softer and more available than some materials, using an electric drill and files to bring about a sculpture. It is a labor-intensive process, and one piece may take many days of long hours to complete. With polymer clay sculpture, the clay is directly molded into shape through an additive process and brings quicker results. He has been prolific in creating polymer clay sculptures.
Whether working with clay or polymer clay, the excitement of sculpting for Hollis is in creating shapes, forms, and textures in several dimensions. The form itself is the ultimate design, but it can also be embellished. The elements of design, including the use of texture, have always been a primary consideration in his paintings. In sculpture, he can work more directly with the materials to achieve his goals. The finished product shares space with the artist and the viewer, who can turn it and walk around it to enjoy all sides of the project.
His polymer clay and soapstone sculptures are heavily influenced by Native Americans, whom he lived among during his time on the Navajo Reservation, and other indigenous people. The images of his sculptures, like those of his paintings, spring from his imagination, influenced by memories and many experiences.