Richard Tipping

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Tipping
Adelaide, Australia
OccupationPoet, artist
Alma materFlinders University, University of Technology Sydney

Richard Kelly Tipping (born 1949) is an Australian poet and artist best known for his visual poetry, word art, and large-scale public artworks. Examples of his work are held in major collections in Australia and abroad.

Early life and education[edit]

Tipping was born into a medical family in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1949. He studied film, philosophy and literature at Flinders University, graduating in 1972.[1]

In 2007 Tipping completed a doctorate at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) titled Word Art Works: visual poetry and textual objects.[2]


After graduation in 1972, Tipping spent a year in Sydney, which included exhibiting with Aleks Danko at Watters Gallery. He then travelled in the United States and lived in San Francisco, meeting with poets including Michael McClure. He returned to Adelaide in 1975 where he began working with the South Australian Film Corporation until 1978.[1][2]

He began composing typographic concrete poetry on a manual typewriter in 1967, exploring the arrangement of letters on the page as a field of poetic composition. Literary concern is integral to his practice in word art and visual poetry.[3]

In 1975 Tipping co-founded the ongoing Friendly Street Poets, which began open-mic poetry readings in Adelaide, and edited their first anthology, Friendly Street Poetry Reader, in 1977.[4]

Between 1984 and 1986 he lived in Europe and England with his family, while making documentaries about expatriate writers such as Randolph Stow in Sussex, Peter Porter in London, Jack Lindsay in Cambridge, and David Malouf in Tuscany.

He lectured in communication and media arts at the University of Newcastle, NSW between 1989 and 2010.[citation needed]

In 2021 he opened an art gallery WordXimage [5] in Maitland, NSW specialising in text-picture relationships.


Tipping is known for his visual poetry and word art, including artsigns, textual sculpture, subvertising graphics, and large-scale public artworks both permanent and temporary.[6]

In the 1970s Tipping began collecting ironies and oddities in public signage through photography, and changing public signs[7] to make poetic messages. Signs of Australia (1982) collected many of these found sign anomalies. Signature works from his explorations of public sign language include No Understanding in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.[8] His public art projects include the well known Watermark (2000)[9] steel sculpture (popularly known as "Flood"[10]) on the Brisbane River, which became the high-water mark for a major flood in 2011.[citation needed]

He has had more than 30 solo exhibitions in Australia as well as in New York,[11][12] London, Munich, Cologne and Berlin.[13]


Examples of his work are held in the collections of many public galleries, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales[14] and the British Museum.[15]

Tipping is represented in many important art collections, including the print collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra;[16] The Art Gallery of New South Wales;[17] National Gallery of Victoria; Art Gallery of South Australia; Queensland Art Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney;[18] the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the Brisbane Powerhouse; and many regional art galleries. Many of the major Australian libraries, as well as international art collections hold his work.[19]


Articles about his art can be found in Art Almanac,[20] Look magazine of the Art Gallery of New South Wales,[21] Art Guide,[22] and Limelight [23]



As a poet he has published three books of poems with University of Queensland Press, which are available on Poetry Library,[24] and more recent collections such as Tommy Ruff (2014) [25] and Instant History (2017) [26]

His poems are represented in many anthologies, such as the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry and the New Oxford Book of Australian Verse.[4]

As editor/compiler[edit]

  • The Word as Art special issue of Artlink (Vol 27 No.1, 2007),[27]
  • The Friendly Street Poetry Reader, 1st issue (Adelaide University Press, 1977)[28]
  • Mok: A Magazine of Contemporary Dissolution and Intemperance (5 issues 1968–1969, co-editor)[29] – the first of a wave of small magazines in late 1960s defining a shift in Australian poetry which became known as "The Generation of 68".[citation needed]


In the 1980s Tipping made documentary films on writers including David Malouf, Randolph Stow, Peter Porter, Roland Robinson and Les Murray.[citation needed]



  • Instant History, poems, (Flying Island Books, Macau, 2017) [26]
  • Tommy Ruff, poems, (PressPress, Berry, NSW, 2014) [25]
  • Off the Page and Back Again, visual poems and sculptures, (Writers Forum, London, 2010)
  • Subvert I Sing, visual poems and graphics, (Red Fox Press, Ireland, 2008) [30]
  • Notes towards Employment, poetry, (Picaro Press, Warners Bay NSW, 2006)
  • Five O'Clock Shadows, poetry, (Thorny Devil Press, Newcastle, 1989)
  • Nearer by Far, poetry, (University of Queensland Press, 1986)
  • Headlines to the Heart, poetry with drawings by Maize Turner, (Pothole Press, London, 1985)
  • Diverse Voice, visual poetry, (The International Poetry Archive, Oxford, 1985)
  • Signs of Australia, photographs, (Penguin Books Australia, 1982)
  • Domestic Hardcore, poetry, (University of Queensland Press, 1975)
  • Soft Riots, poetry, (University of Queensland Press, 1972)

Print Folios

  • Lovepoems, 20 screenprints in a folio, (Thorny Devil Press, Newcastle, 2007)
  • The Sydney Morning 1-IV, 50 prints in four folios, (Thorny Devil Press, Newcastle, 1989–1994)
  • Word Works, 10 large screenprints, (Adelaide, 1979)


  • Art Word" (Latrobe Regional Art Gallery, Morwell, Victoria [6]
  • Instant History (Australian Galleries, Sydney, 2017) [31]
  • Only Emotion Endures (Australian Galleries, Sydney, 2008)
  • Multiple Choice (Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, NSW, 2007)
  • Roadsigned, postcard pack, (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2005)
  • Public Works (Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, 2002)
  • City Rubbings (Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney and Cologne, 2002)
  • Hear the Art (The Eagle Gallery, London, 1997)
  • Multiple Pleasures (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1996)
  • Word Works 2 (Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne, 1980)
  • Word Works (Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney, 1980)

Solo exhibitions

  • Art Word" (Latrobe Regional Art Gallery, Morwell, Victoria) [6]
  • Instant History (Australian Galleries, Sydney, 2017) [31]
  • Studio (Australian Galleries, Sydney, 2012)
  • Hearth (Australian Galleries, Melbourne, 2009)
  • Only Emotion Endures (Australian Galleries, Sydney, 2008)
  • Subvert I Sing (Multiple Box Sydney, 2008)
  • Multiple Choice (Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, NSW, 2007)
  • Fresh Concrete (John Miller Gallery, Newcastle, 2007)
  • Imagine Silence (Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, 2007)
  • Errrorism, (Multiple Box Sydney, 2004)
  • Art Signs and Word Sculptures (Banning + Low, Washington DC, 2004)
  • Exit Strategy (The Studio, Sydney Opera House, 2004)
  • Street Talk (Banning Gallery, New York, 2003)
  • Public Works (Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, 2002)
  • One Two Many (Multiple Box Sydney, 2001)
  • Versions: Perversions, Subversions and Verse (Ubu Gallery, New York, 1998) [32]
  • Hear the Art (The Eagle Gallery, London, 1997)</ref>
  • Multiple Pleasures (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1996)
  • Art Allergy with Alex Selenitsch, (Rhumbarellas Gallery, Melbourne, 1994)
  • Between the Lines (United Artists Gallery, Melbourne, 1984)
  • Fast Art (Garry Anderson Gallery, Sydney, 1983)
  • Ideagraphics (Rosyln Oxley Gallery, Sydney, 1983)
  • Inside Outside (Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane, 1981)
  • Word Works 2 (Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne, 1980)
  • Word Works (Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney, 1980)
  • The Everlasting Stone (Adelaide Festival Centre Gallery, 1978)
  • Soft Riots with Aleks Danko, (Watters Gallery, Sydney, 1973)
  • Uck with Aleks Danko, (Llewellyn Gallery, Adelaide, 1970)

Group exhibitions More than 50 appearances in group exhibitions since 1975 including:

  • The Essential Duchamp, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2019, including an artist talk (see links in this reference) [33]
  • Sculpture by the Sea Bondi, 2016 (also 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015)[34]
  • The Silent Scream (Monash University, 2011)[35]
  • Avoiding Myth and Message: Australian Artists and the Literary World (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2009)[36]
  • Mapping Correspondence: Mail Art in the 21st Century (Center for Books Arts, New York, 2008)
  • Multiplicity: Print and Multiples (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006)
  • The National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2003)[37]

Film and video

  • Documentary portraits of Australian writers including Roland Robinson, Les Murray, Peter Porter, Randolph Stowe, David Malouf, and Sumner Locke-Elliott (1984–86)
  • Documentary portraits of artists who make books including: Bob Cobbing (UK), Ronald King (UK), Warren Lehrer (US), Ed Ruscha (US), Christo and Jeanne-Claude (US), Purgatory Pie Press (US) and other in progress (1994–present).


  1. ^ a b Politics of Imagination: Richard Kelly Tipping and the Art and Technology of Words, Images and Objects by Sabrina Bleecker Caldwell, Doctoral thesis. (Australian National University, Canberra, 2008)
  2. ^ a b Tipping, Richard Kelly (2007). Word art works : Visual poetry and textual objects (Thesis). hdl:10453/52683.
  3. ^ Griffith University art collection. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Richard Tipping". Friendly Street Poets. 28 June 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Home".
  6. ^ a b c "Richard Tipping: Art Word". 29 March 2018.
  7. ^ Powerhouse Museum collection, artist Richard Tipping Retrieved 24 March 2012
  8. ^ "2003 National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition - Richard Tipping - No Understanding". National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  9. ^ Watermark Public artwork. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  10. ^ Watermark flooded ABC News Retrieved 30 September 2014
  11. ^ "Richard Tipping: Versions Perversions, Subversions & Verse".
  12. ^ Johnson, Ken (8 January 1999). "Art in Review". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Richard Tipping exhibitions".
  14. ^ "Works by Richard Tipping | Art Gallery of NSW".
  15. ^ "Collections Online | British Museum".
  16. ^ Prints and Printmaking, National Gallery of Australia, 99 images of works Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Artwork, 2012, 2014 by Richard Tipping".
  18. ^ Powerhouse Museum Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  19. ^ "Richard Tipping collections".
  20. ^ "Richard Tipping: Instant History". 5 April 2017.
  21. ^ "The art that made me: Richard Tipping".
  22. ^ "Richard Tipping: Art Word". 17 July 2018.
  23. ^ "The artist Tipping the gender balance in street signs".
  24. ^ "Australian Poetry Library".
  25. ^ a b "PressPress Richard Tipping".
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ "The Word as Art", Artlink (Vol 27 No.1, 2007). Retrieved on 29 September 2014.
  28. ^ Tipping, Richard; Friendly Street Poets (1977), The Friendly Street poetry reader, Adelaide University Union Press, ISBN 978-0-9598309-1-0
  29. ^ Tipping, Richard; Tillett, Rob (1968), Mok: A magazine of contemporary dissolution and intemperance, Mok Publications, retrieved 11 February 2021
  30. ^ "Richard Tipping "Subvert I Sing"".
  31. ^ a b "Instant History | Australian Galleries".
  32. ^ "Richard Tipping: Versions Perversions, Subversions & Verse". Ubu Gallery. 26 May 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  33. ^ "Richard Tipping – Artist Talk & Installation at the AGNSW | Australian Galleries".
  34. ^ Sculpture by the Sea Archived 27 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 30 September 2014
  35. ^ Bibliotheca Librorum publisher Retrieved 30 September 2014
  36. ^ Avoiding Myth and Message Retrieved 30 September 2014
  37. ^ National Gallery of Australia Retrieved 30 September 2014

External links[edit]

  • [1] Artpoem site
  • [2] Richard Tipping's home page