Richard Vakil is an artist from Lysekil in Sweden. He is a self-taught artist who started to paint watercolour in the fall 1987. He acquired a taste for this technique thanks after teaching during summer time for seven years (1996-2002) at the Ljungskile Folkhøjskola.
Watercolour painting is his preferred technique, but he also uses acrylics.
During an exhibition in Stockholm in 2014, a woman who had bought a painting from him asked him if he would be interested in producing a diploma. He never dreamt she meant for the Nobel Prize! It was two years later that he was finally contacted by the Royal Academy of Sciences with a request to paint the diploma that is given to the Laureates of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He chose to paint stones, symbols of the immutable and eternal, on ARCHES® Watercolour rough paper, 300 gsm, size 333 x 211 mm, to create the prestigious diplomas.
This is the text written on the card that accompanies the diplomas:
“Beyond the comprehension of eternity.
A stone – is it something constant, immutable in its environment, or is it a metamorphosis of its constituents: sand becomes stone, stone becomes sand?
I look at it and I ask: ‘Have you always been there?’
The stone replies: ‘No, I’ve always been constantly moving, with a consciousness that vanishes beyond the comprehension of eternity.’
What existed yesterday is something entirely different today.
The stone is a kind of eulogy to slowness and freedom.”
For the diplomas that were given to the Nobel Prize Laureates in Physics 2017, he chose the theme of “gravitation” and wrote the following text:
“A MEETING WITH THE WAVE OF TIME.
The wave of gravitation stares silently – echoes life
carrying with it images
you have never ever seen or heard.
The wave of time keeps this boat
that we are all sitting in
in balance and it suggestively rocks us ahead
in an endlessly dark sea
that takes us through stardust, vacuum and time
that is now and was then.
The black holes open up
and in them you can see today
everything that was then
clear as crystal.
My pictures are a kind of reflection of what keeps us here – gravitation.
Regardless of whether it is land, the heavens or the sea.
Congratulations on your award!
Richard Vakil, artist”