December 3 - 18, 2010

Los Angeles, CA

Antebellum Gallery

Robert W. Richards

Opening Night: Friday, December 3, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
$5 Cover

— special salon event
A one time only drawing salon hosted & instructed by
Robert W. Richards
December 5th, 1 PM till 3 PM
$30 - reservations required

An informal chat with
Robert W. Richards
December 5th, 4PM till 6PM, $10

ROBERT W. RICHARDS is an internationally acclaimed artist whose subjects have ranged from the highest of high society to the lowest of low life.

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 - NEXT!!!"

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.

Antebellum Gallery
General Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM -- or by appointment.
1643 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood CA, 90028  Map 
Antebellum Gallery Website

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“The abstract, especially in those rough sketches, is very important to me, perhaps because of my advertising background, where layout is so important. Sometimes those first few lines cut the paper into such satisfying shapes that I don’t want to go on, but I always do, adding nostrils and nipples and bootstraps until I have filled the paper up as usual.” — Tom of Finland