The Magic of Richard T. Slone: From One Canvas to Another
INTERVIEW By Jason Petock (June 2, 2006)
Richard T. Slone
Boxing has often been surrounded by colorful and imaginative characters over the years. Everyone from promoters, fighters, matchmakers and agents have all had their own distinctive flair surrounding the sport and each have brought something to the table that is unique and different. Richard T. Slone is an incredible artist that has made his mark as one of the world’s most sought after painters and if you ever had the privilege of seeing any of his work you would know why. Having done portraits of various celebrities it’s no wonder that this artist is in such high demand by the general public. But the focal works of Richard are his boxing paintings, much in the vein of American famed artist LeRoy Neiman. And these magnificent paintings are as beautiful as they are intricate. His visions and depictions of fighters and their visages are nothing short of spectacular and amazing. He is a true artistic genius and a credit to not only the world of art but also boxing, as he takes his passion for the sport and transfers it onto a different type of canvas for all of the world to see and admire. Richard granted me the chance to interview him and I jumped at the opportunity to have an exchange with this gifted and well known artist.

JP: First off I would like to thank you for doing this interview with me Richard. I understand that you became a boxer under the tutelage of Smokin’ Joe Frazier. What was that experience like?

Yes, it’s true I boxed for five or six years under the guidance of Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Frazier gave me the opportunity to become a fighter, so I left England with one bag and half a pocket of money when I was sixteen years old. I went to North Philly and learned how to fight. Frazier and I became like brothers, we are to this day. I lived with him above the gym and I owe a lot to him, he’s truly a great man. I had a very similar style to Joe’s. He wanted me to turn pro but I got into the business side of things, I stopped boxing in ’97 and by 1999 I became VP of Kronk Gym, where I worked alongside Emanuel Steward with fighters such as Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed and many more.

JP: Can you describe in your own words what you feel is the connective link between boxing and art and do you feel that it transcends the sport and/or helps to elevate it?

Boxing has always been a great subject for artists, George Bellows and LeRoy Neiman did some great boxing art. Boxers are great people, they put it all on the line and every possible emotion is involved, this is why I love painting fights. It’s pure. The great thing about boxing is it truly is the sport of kings, ringside is the only place where millionaires, gangsters, supermodels, royalty and the working man sit together and unite. Everyone admires a great fighter and as an artist it’s easy to be inspired by such. I think my experience in the ring also adds to my paintings and sets me apart from other artists.

Richard T. Slone's Latest Painting: Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo
JP: What first motivated you to become an artist and did you possess a natural gift for painting as a child?

Painting always came natural to me. I never had any trouble expressing myself with a pencil. In fact it wasn’t until I was in my early teens and began selling works that I realized everyone couldn’t draw. As I grew up and had more life experiences, traveled the world, had great joys and hardship, it all blended to make me a better person and better artist. Being an artist is a journey and I am still developing, but I have loved art for as long as I can remember.

JP: Your work has spanned all forms of entertainment and reached outside of boxing as well. What has been the biggest honor that you have received during your illustrious career?

There have been many great moments for me personally. A few things come to mind like my first magazine cover, my first sold out limited edition, my first solo exhibition, being named official artist of the Boxing Hall of Fame, painting for Donald Trump, Hugh Hefner. It’s all exciting but honestly I enjoy spending time with little kids in art class, its fascinating helping them create and develop. I always try to get them to think about what they are drawing, for example I will ask, “Where are his eyes?” when I see a stick figure – they look at me like, “Yeah, I forgot that!” next thing you know they are drawing every detail, it’s amazing.

JP: Being an artist do you look at boxing and its fighters with the same type of visual imagery as you would a painting and do you see a relation between the two?

Good question, although I don’t look at a painting like I do a fight. I do see and feel similarities in both. Every painting I do is like a fight, at times you lose control of it, it can be frustrating, but you must overcome

and by seeing the openings with your brush, much like a boxer sees openings in the ring; you must battle away until you’re in control. Then once you’re in control you can showboat and really leave a good impression! Boxing, the combat itself, is so pure and that can be compared to art and many other things in life.

JP: Going back to you being a boxer, how long did your career span and were you painting at that time when you were fighting?

Well, my dad took me to the boxing gym when I was about 5 years old, I boxed on and off for the next twenty years, ending up at Frazier’s gym. I always painted, during training it was perfect to come back and do artwork, instead of going out getting into trouble, or partying too much.

JP: You have been called the next LeRoy Neiman by many. What do you think about LeRoy and the comparison of you to him?

I think LeRoy Neiman is a great artist. He and others have been influential in my development. LeRoy is a nice guy and an inspiration. One of the biggest compliments I ever got came from LeRoy. As far as the comparison, I don’t feed much into the hype; I just paint to the best of my ability.

JP: Are you an avid boxing fan and do you have any favorite fighters that you enjoy watching fight?

Yes, I love boxing. I still help Emanuel Steward with a few of his fighters and attend as many fights as I can, mostly the Vegas fights. I have tons of favorites by my all-time favorites are Joe Frazier and Marvin Hagler.

JP: For those out there who are unfamiliar with your work could you please name some of the fighters or fights that you have painted?

I’ve painted just about every name fighter out there at some point. I have done the cover art for the last ten years of the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canasota, Ring Magazine, many commissions for top fighters and most classic fights. I’ve probably created 200 – 300 boxing paintings in the last 20 years.

JP: If you had the opportunity to paint any fighter or fight from any generation or time period who or what fight or fighter would you choose and why?

I’ve painted most fighters I wanted to but I am thinking of doing a series of the ten greatest fighters of all time. All life size. For those that want to keep up with my new releases go to

JP: Once again I would like to thank you for doing this interview with me. I appreciate your time and feel grateful. Is there anything else that you would like to offer in closing to the readers out there that we haven’t covered in the interview?

It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.

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