W. RICHARDS is an internationally acclaimed artist whose subjects
have ranged from the highest of high society to the lowest of low
Mr. Richardshas created portraits of everyone from Liza, Peggy
Lee, Lena Horne, and Warhol — to Casey Donovan, Peter Berlin,
Jack Wrangler, Ryan Idol and Jeff Stryker.
A collection of his drawings can be seen in the book Allure,
published by Bruno Gmuender Books.
— About the artist —
In the early 1980s, Robert W. Richards began, drawing and interviewing
every major male porn star who had ever unzipped for the camera.
Described by Time Out magazine as "ICONIC", artist Robert
W. Richards — now in his fifth decade of drawing — shows
no symptoms of slowing down. "Every morning when I wake up
my first thought is "What will I draw today!"
And the answer is usually surprising — maybe an elaborate
Dior gown, maybe even on a boy or a portrait of a recently surgically
enhanced society matron or the newest hunk on the porn block.
Richards started drawing professionally at the age of sixteen,
doing ads for fashionable shops on Newbury street, Boston's version
of Madison Avenue.
"I've never done anything other than making art for a living.
I've never been a waiter or a clerk or any of the things starving
artists do to keep the wolf from the door. I just muddled through
and kept at it.
"As I was growing up in a dreary little factory town in Maine
my seemingly unattainable dream was always to live and work in New
York. So, barely of legal age, I made the move and I was instantly
home! A perfect fit! Of course there were grim moments
- doing schlocky layouts for hideous ads in the rat infested art
department of Gimbel's department store, humiliating free-lance
jobs for pathetic money, but as I improved my portfolio challenging
work started coming my way. And from the late sixties to the mid-seventies
I had the best of fashion illustration commissions
— covering the Haute Couture shows in Paris and Rome, the
high fashion runways in New York and London - working side by side
with my idol Kenn Paul Block. Intimidating but thrilling!
"Eventually the relentless travel and the monotony of endless
shows took their toll. I now wanted to draw the people who wore
the clothes, not just the clothes. I wanted to draw MEN! Being typecast
as a fashion artist,
someone who, it was assumed, could only draw stylized, elongated,
unapproachable looking women proved an obstacle.
"Then the light came on! Gay magazines! Those doors flew open
and a whole new career was underway.
"Through the rest of the seventies, the eighties and nineties
I interviewed and drew huge triptychs (head, chest, dick) of every
major porn star of the era.
I drew endlessly for the gay rags — Torso, Men, Mandate,
Honcho, Blue Boy — illustrating every gay cliche:
the pizza delivery boy, the about-to-be-had straight college roomate,
the beloved locker room and camping trip scenarios... many of them
more than once. All the while I continued my fashion and beauty
work, designing Broadway posters, packaging CD's: Lena Horne, Sinatra,
Anita O'Day, Peggy Lee, Betty Buckley all the way to Jackie Beat
and Dirty Sanchez.
"I'm as busy now as I ever have been. I've had two books Allure
and Dirty Little Drawings published by Bruno Gmunder, gallery
shows at Leslie-Lohman, Feature Gallery
and the contemporary Arts Center.
"In 2009 at the prestigious Society of Illustrators I curated
a major show of Fashion Illustration, unbelievably the first in
New York since 1986. Thanks to the magnificent artists who loaned
their work it was a huge success. Along the way I talked the elusive
Peter Berlin into doing a show of his photographs which people are
still talking about.
"At this advanced stage of my game, I remain as hungry as
I was at the very beginning and to this moment my motto remains
About the gallery:
Antebellum Gallery is located in the heart of downtown
Hollywood. The term antebellum is Latin for "before war".
While it commonly refers to a more romantic Gone With the Wind
era, we find ourselves again today with American culture at odds
with political / religious / social agendas that threaten to blow
the lid off its foundations at any given moment.
Steeped in Victorian nuances with a salon style, Antebellum is intended
as a hybrid of artistic, cultural, and political iconoclasm.