Richard Wyatt Jr. (American, b. 1955) is best known for his practice, which includes art in public and corporate spaces, drawing, painting, and installations. Wyatt’s work often revolves around themes such as history and culture. He has been a presence in the Los Angeles art scene since he was twelve years-old. His early art education began in the mid-1960’s when his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Evelyn Freeman, advised his parents to encourage his interest in art. During this period, he studied art at the Watts Towers Art Center and the Studio Watts Workshop. Wyatt also attended the Tutor Art Program (established by the late Bill Tara) which met on Saturdays at the Otis Art Institute. At these Saturday sessions, led by artist William Pajaud, Wyatt began studying, drawing and painting with his mentor: artist and teacher Charles White. In 1978, Wyatt obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has taught drawing and painting at the University of California, Irvine; the Otis/Parsons Art Institute, Los Angeles; and the Watts Towers Art Center, Los Angeles.
For more than 30 years, Wyatt has actively produced art for public and corporate spaces which have been featured in publications, films, television, and documentaries throughout the world. In 1996, Wyatt was commissioned to create the City of Dreams, River of History mural at the historic landmark Union Station, Los Angeles, CA. In 2010, Wyatt (in collaboration with May Sun) completed a public commission for the historic Robert F. Kennedy Monument located at the former Ambassador Hotel site on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA. In 2012, he restored his iconic Hollywood Jazz: 1945-1972 mural in ceramic tile at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, CA. In conjunction with public art, Wyatt has produced a significant body of paintings and drawings that have been regularly exhibited in galleries and museums—most notably, he was invited to exhibit at Black SoCal: Art and Practice in an Evolving Landscape for the 2015 Venice Biennale at the Pallazzo Querini Stampalia in Venice, Italy. However, the exhibition was postponed.
For 2019, Wyatt was included in the Los Angeles County of Museum of Art exhibit entitled Life Model: Charles White and His Students. Wyatt has exhibited in Looking Ahead: Portraits from the Mott-Warsh Collection at the Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan in 2010; African American Artists in Los Angeles. A Survey Exhibition: Pathways, California African American Museum and Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles in 2009; Visions, Selections from the James T. Dyke Collection of Contemporary Drawings, opening at the Naples Museum of Art, Florida in 2007 and closing at the Arkansas Arts Center, Arkansas in 2008; About Face, a solo exhibition at Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles in 2005 and in Representing L.A., a traveling group museum exhibition organized by the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in 2000-02.