Eluster Richardson has an affinity for the Lake Jackson area of Tallahassee where he grew up in the 1950's. He has been painting all his life, devoting himself to it full time, when he retired from his career as a network engineer. He is a figurative painter, working in a wide range of mediums, but primarily oil and watercolor. Over the past 30 years, his fascination with history, particularly the people and places of North Florida, has resulted in a body of work that is treasured by history and art lovers of the region. Whether portraits or landscapes, Eluster has achieved the gift of telling a story through his art. "I love to add a soul to my paintings;" he says, "I love a living document, a living piece of art."
His works have won numerous awards and have been exhibited in a variety of settings, including the Museum of Florida History, Lemoyne Art Foundation, Florida State Museum of Art, and notably, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. In 2016 he was commissioned to paint a series of watercolors depicting scenes of daily life on a tenant farm, which are on view at the Jones Tenant House Museum at Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy in Tallahassee. It was a particularly meaningful commission for Eluster, having grown up on a very similar Red Hills plantation tenant farm.
"From the Forgotten Coast to the Red Hills," his 2019 show at the Phipps Gallery of the Tallahassee Museum showcased his perspective on the ecology and natural history of two very different yet connected areas known for their biological diversity and scenic beauty -- the coastline which stretches from Mexico Beach on the Gulf of Mexico to St. Marks on Apalachicola Bay, known as the Forgotten Coast, and the pine upland area of rolling fields, rivers and lakes located between Thomasville, Georgia and Tallahassee known as the Red Hills. In these emotional landscapes, Eluster uncovers the gradually disappearing physical evidence of a natural environment that is fading into the past -- recording it for future generations. "My duty as an artist is to capture the landscapes around us," he says, "and so if they do change, the memories will continue to be there.”
Eluster currently works out of his art studio in his hometown of Tallahassee. He is a past President of the Tallahassee Watercolor Society and has been the Artist in Residence for the Riley House Museum and Resource Center of African American History and Culture, which houses a collection of his historical works. Eluster's recent portrait work was selected for inclusion in the summer 2021 show - "Reverberations: Black Artists on Racism and Resilience" - at The James Museum in St. Petersburg. He was also celebrated with a retrospective exhibition at the Gadsden Arts Center in Quincy, Florida at the beginning of 2022.
It is an honor to show Eluster's paintings depicting scenes of the Apalachicola area's cultural and natural history here at the gallery.