Meeting Mr. Riley

Mollie Kemp ‘23

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Molly: What’s your hometown?

Mr. Riley: Albemarle, Massachusetts.


M: Where did you go to college?

Mr. Riley: “I have my Bachelors in Fine Art from Massachusetts college of art and design in Boston. I have my Masters in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania.”


M: How'd you end up in DC?

Mr. Riley: “I originally came in 2019 because my wife took a job at the National Gallery of Art. Then because of COVID we had to go back to Italy which is where we were living before then. Then we came back this year. I lived in Italy for four years, my wife is Italian so we originally went to Italy in 2017, it was just supposed to be for one year, and she was doing research for her doctoral thesis and we ended up staying for four years because Italy is so great. It’s hard to leave!”


M: Where else have you lived?

Mr. Riley: “Just in the U.S. I lived in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, western Massachusetts, and Providence Rhode Island. DC is the furthest south I’ve ever lived, it’s exciting, it’s like a whole new world down here.”


M: Where is some of your art displayed?

Mr. Riley: “My proudest achievement is that I have art at the Risd Museum, the museum of the Rhode Island school of design. I work in private collections, currently I don’t have any art in galleries but I think because I’ve been in Italy for four years, I haven’t maintained a lot of connections here in the U.S. So one of my goals in coming back to the U.S is to get established with some galleries here in the area and start showing my work. For now I mainly just use my website and show my work.”


M: Type of art focused on

Mr. Riley: “Right now I’m focused on drawing and painting, I call it drawing even though I use a lot of paint, I use watercolor, acrylics, colored pencils. And the images I’m creating I would say are halfway between abstract and landscape. There's definitely references to the Italian landscape that I was living in and recently I’ve been including original poetry into the drawings.”


M: Looking forward to teaching at SSSAS

Mr. Riley: “I’m excited to meet the students and find out what their interests are as young artists. I’m also very interested to get back into ceramics because I haven’t had the opportunity to do ceramics in some time and there's an excellent ceramic studio here.”


Fun Facts


M: TV shows?

Mr. Riley: “Late Night with Steven Colbert, that’s really all I watch.”


M: Music/artists?

Mr. Riley: “All kinds of music. At the moment Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings.”


M: Animals?

Mr. Riley: “One year old cat- Rocco.” 


You can check out Mr. Riley’s art using the link below!!