Meet the Artist Behind Louisville's Favorite Murals – StyleBlueprint


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You've likely seen muralist Liz Richter's layers of color, repetition, and symbolism on display in and around Louisville. Meet this inspiring FACE of Louisville and learn all about her latest projects! Image: Leslie Rodriguez
June 12, 2022
The work of artist, muralist, and illustrator Liz Richter spans multiple mediums. Her layers of color, repetition, and symbolism are boldly displayed through bright hues and patterns throughout the Bluegrass State — from stickers and postcards to high-fashion pieces and public walls. Passionate about creating mentorship opportunities for budding artists, she is also dedicated to creating accessible art experiences for at-risk or underserved populations. Meet our latest FACE of Louisville, Liz Richter!
Meet our newest FACE of Louisville, muralist Liz Richter! Image: Ryan Noltemeyer
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From a young age, I’ve always drawn and painted a lot. Art was something that I used as a way to express myself and deal with tough emotions or connect with other people; it was like a form of therapy. But my family’s from Paducah, Kentucky, and when I was seven years old, we moved to an even smaller town in southeast Missouri. Being from a really small town, I grew up not understanding that being an artist was something you could do for a living. So I got my degree from Southeast Missouri State University in art education.
Yes, I started in the classroom teaching — and that gave me an interesting foundation for becoming an artist. It has given me a unique approach to my own practice because a child’s view of art and the world is very grounded. There’s also a sense of whimsy and fun that I feel I absorbed from the kids and how they make art. Art is really all about fun in elementary and middle school, and there’s joy in practicing it. When I decided to leave education, it was hard for me. I loved teaching, but I wasn’t “making” — and at the core of who I am, I’m a maker. So, I had to make the tough decision to walk away from the classroom setting.
“The History of Hikes Point Mural,” 2016. Image: Shaelyne Meadows
Liz gives the community a major dose of color and creativity through her murals. Here she is on a boom lift, painting one in Smoketown. Image: Leslie Rodriguez
I decided there was a way I could reach people and deal with my desire to be a part of the community — but on my own terms and in a way that is not structured like a classroom setting, which was grueling, and took the joy out of the process. I started working freelance and going into schools. Over about three years, I went into more than 40 schools in the Louisville area. I did special projects, and I started being drawn to the schools looking for murals.
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I think I was just really interested in street art. I wanted to experiment and play with scale, and murals gave me a way to do that while also being part of the community. I was able to use my time visiting the schools and doing projects with the kids to work out different techniques. I figured out ways to do a mural and make it effective and simple within a specific time frame. I think a lot of my detailed planning approach and strong narratives comes from being a teacher — from thinking about everything through the lens of How is this a meaningful experience for other people?
“Time Spent with Cats is Never Wasted,” 2019. Image: Lucky Cat Cafe
“What We Need Is Here,” Smoketown Mural Fest, 2019. Image: Leslie Rodriguez
In late 2015, I got an opportunity to do a public mural on the backside of the Big Lots in Hikes Point. It was a really large community project. About 30 other artists were competing for that bid, and I won. I was pregnant at the time, so when the project got pushed back, and I was finally able to start, I’d already given birth, and my son was just six weeks old! It was the worst timing I could have imagined. I had just [gotten through] a really difficult pregnancy and was venturing into the freelance world, but I had so much to prove. It was a really big deal because, at that point, I hadn’t done anything exterior on my own, and I wanted to prove that I could do it.
Yeah, that project was my big break as a muralist. But now, I feel like there are way more female muralists than there were just a few years ago. And as much as I still love doing murals, I don’t feel the responsibility of carrying that forward because I see so many women doing other cool things. It almost allows me to relax a little bit and be like, Okay, what else can I be doing? I’m now seeing some awesome women here locally doing neat murals — things that are way better than something I could do. It gives me the freedom to be innovative again.
“Shared Heritage,” Smoketown Mural Fest, 2019. Image: Leslie Rodriguez
Liz is currently enjoying a collaboration between herself and several other local artists for an installation across from the Kentucky School for the Blind, but one of her favorite collaborations is painting with her son. Image: Provided
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Right now, I’m working on other forms of public art. The big project I’m currently planning isn’t even a painting — it’s a clay installation. I’m switching gears just a little bit. I am truly a painting and drawing artist at heart, but I really like exploration, and I like playing with mediums. If I see something that’s cool that I haven’t tried before, or something nobody else is doing regionally, I always want to try it. So, the project that I’m planning now is a collaboration between myself, a visually impaired performing artist named Darren Harbour, and a ceramic artist named Kristen Falkirk. We’re co-designing a multisensory installation project across the street from the Kentucky School for the Blind. It’s meant to explore the idea of what art is like for those without vision. We want to create an experience for everyone in the community while also taking into account (and allowing access to) the work in really unique and innovative ways for a community with low vision — or without any vision at all.
Liz is painting recycled found objects in her signature florals as a part of an installation for her upcoming solo show at Revelry Boutique Gallery on Friday, August 5, 2022. Image: Leslie Rodriguez
I will go with a Tina Fey quote: “Say ‘yes,’ and figure it out.” That hits home for me because I was a homeschooled kid. It’s the idea that if you don’t know how to do something, it is your responsibility to research and learn. There has never been a better time to exist to figure things out on our own. We have YouTube, and there are tutorials for everything. That’s my approach to art: If I get an opportunity and I want to take it — even if I’m not totally sure if it’s within my scope — I will try. I want to be completely fearless in how I approach my practice because you cannot make good work if you’re operating out of fear. Just say “yes” and figure it out! If the universe offers you something, never turn it down because of fear or because you doubt your abilities.
First, my favorite Clifton eateries — El Mundo and Payne Street Bakehouse — because they fuel me on a weekly basis. Second, my Notes app because I take a million random notes of everything. And third, sunshine — vitamin D. I can’t live without it.
Thank you, Liz!
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