Richard Burnside

Born 1944
Lives Pendleton, South Carolina

"This art, it never existed on this earth till it came out of me."

Richard Burnside, a man of visions of ancient times, creates primal, raw works of art that have always struck a chord in me. Born in Baltimore, Burnside spent a brief stint in the armed forces, then worked as a chef in Charlotte, NC ("I was a world famous chef!" he claims). Plagued at night by visions of ancient times, he found he couldn't rest until he let them out through his painting.

"Gotta obey God," as he puts it. His paintings are rife with symbols, some carrying personal meanings for Burnside, and some unexplained products of his visions.

"Ancient King" (circa 1989, a very early work from Burnside)

"Adam And Eve"

His standard images include Ancient Kings and Queens, Jungle Cats, and a White Wolf. Many of his paintings include what he calls "Roman writing", letters in an ancient language Richard sees in his visions (see the painting below, "Ancient King and his Knights" for an example). The first time I met Richard, I got him to give me a detailed analysis of the symbols found in a typical painting. On my Anatomy of a Burnside page you can see his descriptions of the symbols involved.
"Jungle Cat"


"Ancient King" (This painting appeared in the "Southern, Outsider, Visionary and Folk Art" show at the Fine Arts Museum of the South, and served as the cover for the exhibit catalogue)

"Ancient King and his Knights"

"White Wolf"


benny carter
Benny Carter
Hope Atkinson