Promiseland: paintings by Paul Richmond of people exploring a surreal amusement park

In his latest series of oil paintings, American artist Paul Richmond depicts figures exploring a surreal and imaginary amusement park – one that is colourfully alluring but also dark and disturbing.

"Promiseland is an allegorical theme-park that the figures in this series are seeking, discovering, or remembering," explains Paul. "Its physical properties vary because Promiseland exists only in the subjects’ imaginations, but its significance is rooted in their common efforts to chart a path through obstacles in order to reach their destination."

Apparently, the theme park metaphor was inspired by a childhood memory of his family’s Disney World vacation: "My dad and I had a memorable experience on the ride Peter Pan’s Flight. We were flying over Neverland in a magical ship until a technical malfunction brought us to a screeching halt. Sparks flew, lights flickered, and giant ladders were set up so we could climb down to safety.

"It was a jarring moment in which fantasy came crashing into reality. Promiseland builds upon that idea with surrealistic scenarios blending reality and abstraction. The figures are rendered in detail while travelling through environments that dissolve into gestural brushstrokes and fragmented prismatic shapes. Often a hint of Promiseland appears in the background, raising more questions than it answers."

Promiseland is on show at the Elmarie H. Dyke Gallery at the Pacific Grove Art Center in California, until 13 December 2018. Discover more about Paul's work at


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly