Richard Saja, Artist


In his series ‘Tribes’ Saja turns 18th century toile on its head by embellishing the classic pastoral scenes with bewitchingly intricate embroidered superheroes in yellow capes, green ‘hairy’ figures and ladies on swings with flaming red hairdos.

According to Saja, the series encourages the viewer not to belong to a single tribe or group but rather to live a more enriched life by experiencing many different tribes simultaneously.

Saja has collaborated with fashion leaders such as Opening Ceremony, Anya Hindmarch, Mother of Pearl, and the upcoming ‘Weekend Max Mara’ collection launching in May of '18. Let’s check out where the magic happens.


Photos by Georgia Kokolis

More work from Richard Saja

On view from 11.25 – 12.24.17 at The Gilded Owl, 105 Warren Street, Hudson, NY.


Saja at home.

Him, Again. 2015 Courtesy of the Artist.

A bowl of floss.

A bowl of floss.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A warm summer’s evening at the beach with dear friends, duck breast, potato chips, whiskey and cigarettes. 

What is your greatest fear? Physical infirmity, especially blindness.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m incredibly judgmental of others, although that does often lead to surprise when proven wrong.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Small mindedness coupled with inflexibility. 

Which living person do you most admire? Not technically a person, I find the Ikea Monkey to be an incredibly potent metaphor for these times.

What is your greatest extravagance? Music and fragrance — I have more of each than any one person could possibly use in a lifetime.

 What is your current state of mind? Contentedness in the face of a daunting amount of stitching ahead.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Chastity — use it and lose it.

On what occasion do you lie? Only when someone else’s feelings will be hurt by the truth. 

What do you most dislike about your appearance? The loss of elasticity with age. 

Which living person do you most despise? 45 - ‘nuff said.

What is the quality you most like in a man? A thick pelt of fur.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Intelligence and humor.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Like” but I’m hardly alone in that.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? TBD

When and where were you happiest? I’d like to believe that this has yet to be attained. I’m a fairly happy guy all around, though. 

Which talent would you most like to have? Musical and probably voice because it’s most portable.

Things You Can Do In a Balloon (Detail) 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d like to be a bit less harsh and more forgiving. I’m not all that good at it just yet. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement? My St. John’s College education. 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I wouldn’t mind returning as that trickster of the sea, the octopus, for another go ’round.

Where would you most like to live? The Himalayas —I so love it there because of the clarion mountain light and overall antediluvian feeling of the place.

The Loners, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

What is your most treasured possession? A diamond and platinum 19th century stylized flower pin that belonged to a relative I lived with for 16 years.


What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The despair and relentlessness of addiction.

What is your favorite occupation? Poet. I’m in awe of those who can translate complex concepts into ornamented language.

What is your most marked characteristic? My irreverence, I reckon, but that’s difficult to self-diagnose.

What do you most value in your friends? A solid, life-long commitment to both drinking alcohol and not being tattooed. 

Who are your favorite Artists? Vuillard, Redon, Terry Riley, Gene Clark, Fellini, Altman

Who is your hero of fiction? Jean Des Esseintes from Huysmans’ À rebour.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Fornasetti but only as a kindred spirit.

Who are your heroes in real life? Hospice workers - those lovely Angels of Death!

What are your favorite names? Sarpedon, Rhadamanthus, Boreas, Jojo

What is it that you most dislike? Physical violence. 

What is your greatest regret? Not seeing Alice Coltrane perform while she was still alive. 

How would you like to die? Atomized by a laser beam in outer space.

What is your motto? You can’t pick every flower

Can't Get There From Here  (detail), 2015  Courtesy of the artist.

Can't Get There From Here (detail), 2015  Courtesy of the artist.

Can't Get There From Here , 2015  Courtesy of the artist.

Can't Get There From Here, 2015  Courtesy of the artist.