Born in the small farming town of Mexico, Missouri, from the age of eight, Kehl never thought of being anything but an artist, an ambition supported by his teachers and community. Graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute with a B.F.A and M.F.A. he developed a reputation as an Abstract Expressionist painter. To support his career in other media, he became a teacher, collaborating with the famous designer/educator, Norman Laliberte on an experimental curriculum at the Rhode Island School of Design. He also worked with Laliberte in a design studio in New York, designing the 40 foot mural for the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, a 12 sided photo room for the National Film Board of Canada, and a 90 foot mural for Pepsi Cola on Park Ave.
Richard’s Kehlages have been shown in over seventy galleries in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Washington DC, St. Louis, and Seattle. Recently at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, a 70th Birthday Celebration and Exhibition was held honoring the man and his art. Kehl has been reproduced in the NEW YORK TIMES, NEWSWEEK, ARTS, PRINT, GRAPHIS, and IDEA. The Japanese magazine CREATION selected him as one of the 100 most interesting artists of the 20th century. His corporate clients include Microsoft, Starbucks, Cannes Film Festival, Hewlett Packard, Safeco, Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He has published nineteen books, two having to do with art education.
Martha Kingsbury, art history professor at the University of Washington states, “His work has an affinity with the sensibilities of many European and continental art developments of the last quarter century. The delicacy, the sophistication, and the equivocal non-literary evocativeness that Richard achieves are difficult to attain, much less to sustain with his consistency. Kehl’s work must be recognized for their true qualities of elegance, mystery and originality.”