Art for the People.

Industry Observer with ARFCO Media

The role of the artist is to connect with the human spirit. My favorite quote about that is from Pablo Picasso, “Art is the lie that tells the truth.” Richard ‘Rich’ Beyer was the embodiment of that ideal.

Richard Beyer, Master Sculptor

Richard Beyer

Master sculptor Richard S. Beyer passed this last Monday, April 9, 2012 in New York City at the age of 86. He was one of my artistic heroes and a genius at displaying subjects of the Pacific Northwest that typified our roots.

Without a doubt his most popular work is “Waiting for the Interurban” in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. This cast aluminum piece depicts 5 people and a dog waiting for a trolley that never comes. The irony being that the Interurban was a (once upon a time) rail system that connected downtown Seattle with its inner city neighborhoods to the surrounding areas and outlying towns. It was a great public transportation system.

Beyer’s sculptures are numerous around Washington. Often the critics deemed his work ‘populist’, but who cares what they think. His work was well liked by the people and he had a tremendous following.

Born in 1925, Beyer grew up in Roosevelt’s New Deal era and he maintained a caring and fondness for the common person throughout his life and work.

Beyer was brilliant at capturing the essence of place and presenting the wisdom and humor of the everyday people who inhabited the place. His work is often whimsical and never short on satire.

Richard Beyer's, Waiting for the Interurban, in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington

Waiting for the Interuban

Beyer was schooled in economics and moved to Seattle in 1957 to work on a Ph D at the University of Washington. As an artist he was mostly self taught. His love of carving and sculpture won over and he established himself as a master sculptor in 1978. His works always tell a story about real life or the myths and tall tales about the place where they reside.

Donkey Run Away From The Mines. Richard Beyer, 1984.

Donkey Run Away From The Mines. Richard Beyer, 1984.

In my little burg of Renton at Tonkin Park just south of downtown is “Donkey Run Away From The Mines.” (1984) True to form, Renton was a coal mining town and donkeys were used for a time and there are a few local tall tales about them.

Rich, you will be missed. Thanks for leaving your smiles out there for all to see.

"Art is seeing common things transformed by love, and the best public art belongs to the story of a community." ~ Rich Beyer.

Links to Richard Beyer's life and work...

Richard Beyer - Seattle Times April 12, 2012

The Interurban Sculpture - Fremont, Seattle

Rich Beyer Sculpture - Art for the People

The Waterland Blog - Scott Schaefer 

Richard Beyer - Wikipedia

Posted by

René Fabre

"Where there's conversation, there's opportunity."

Please Note - The views expressed herein reflect only the individual’s personal views and are not the views of the author’s employer.

The Blackberry Chronicles, a blog by Rene Fabre and his travels around the Greater Pacific Northwest and beyond. Connect w/ Rene Fabre on Google+. Rene Fabre on Twitter. Rene Fabre writes reviews on Yelp. Rene Fabre on The Audiorium YouTube Channel by Rene Fabre. Rene Fabre loves digital photography and here are his shares on Flickr. Rene Fabre is a musician and composer and shares some of his orginal music and recordings on Soundcloud. Rene Fabre shares his interests on Pinterest.

Comments (8)

Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

What a nice post ..very informative about a very artist man

Apr 14, 2012 05:39 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Thanks Hannah... Rich was a gem. Big on talent, big in life. I'm grateful I got to meet the man a few times. He was truly inspiring!

Apr 14, 2012 05:58 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Hi Rene-

Thank you for sharing the beautiful artwork and thought provoking post.  Our area is filled with artwork which we never tire of enjoying!  Wish I had the talent ..... 

Hope you're enjoying a great Saturday.


Apr 14, 2012 08:24 AM
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Rene, it is pretty rare to see the people of the interurban without "clothes." :)

Apr 14, 2012 11:10 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Charles: Thanks for that my friend! I was going to get into that but reminded myself, "it's a blog post, not a biography!" I love the "art attacks" as they are sometimes called... It's been fun to see what happens around certain holidays and events at the waiting for the Interurban install... and Rich liked it too!

Apr 14, 2012 11:50 AM
Todd Clark - Retired
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

I remember his work from when I lived up there and you are right, the people loved it. I think the people who didn't were actually the people that were jealous of his popularity. 


Apr 15, 2012 02:15 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Thanks John: Rich was always good in the 'thought provoking' department! :O) Hope you're having a great weekend!

Apr 15, 2012 07:46 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Todd: The fact that Rich did his work "for the people" speaks volumes! But he never told "them" what to like, he included them! Ahhhhh.... :O)

Apr 15, 2012 07:47 AM