You know him as the drummer for The Beatles, but do you know Ringo Starr, the painter?
Starr titled his most recent book “Painting is my Madness Too – the ART of Ringo Starr.”
We love a good beat and a good brush stroke. Join us as we look at the visual expression of this multi-talented man.
Let’s dive in!
The Story of Ringo Starr
Born Richard Starkey, Ringo Starr is one of the most famous drummers in the world. A member of the iconic quartet, The Beatles, Ringo’s talents go far beyond music.
Starr’s Early Years
As a child, Richard suffered from several health problems. Complications with a ruptured appendix, concussion, and tuberculosis led to hospitalizations and surgeries.
It was in his convalescence that he first learned about drumming. In fact, he played in the hospital band.
As a result of his medical issues, Starkey missed a lot of school. By the time he was 15, he could barely read or write.
Eventually, Richard dropped out of school and went to work. He moved through three different jobs, injuring his finger on the third. When his stepfather bought him a drum kit, Starkey promised to be the best drummer ever.
In 1957, Richard started the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. Music played with a combination of traditional and homemade instruments, known as Skiffle style, was the Liverpool craze at the time. Starkey played in a variety of bands over the next few years.
During this time, Starkey officially changed his name to Ringo Starr. Ringo, for the rings he wore on all his fingers and Starr as a play on his last name Starkey.
Starr became an official member of The Beatles in 1962. He joined Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison in what Starr called “the biggest band in the land.”
The Beatles went through several drummers before eventually landing on Ringo Starr. He contributed to the group’s first big hit, Love Me Do.
Ringo’s reliable drumming was invaluable in the band’s studio sessions and exhausting live performances around the world. His easy-going personality meshed well with the other three members.
After a rocket stardom ride of eight years, The Beatles broke up. Starr began a solo music career. He produced best-selling albums and began branching out into other areas of the entertainment industry.
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
In 1989, Ringo pulled together his first All-Starr Band. He reached out to successful musicians to create an ever-changing live rock supergroup. Fourteen variations of the band have toured since then, with members changing for each performance.
Ringo notes that everyone on stage is a star in their own right. Performers over three decades include the likes of Joe Walsh, Sheila E., and Peter Frampton. Zak Starkey, Ringo’s son, now with The Who, inherited the beat for drums and played in half of the All-Starr Bands.
The shows usually include a dozen or so of Starr’s songs, including those from his Beatles years. The show’s docket has two or three best hits by each of the All-Starr members.
When Did Ringo Starr Begin Painting?
For years, Ringo Starr painted using acrylics and oils. In the late 90s, he needed something to do while staying in hotels during his All-Starr Band tours. He began creating pop art on his computer.
In 2005, Ringo had his first exhibition of paintings called “My Faces.” He’s continued to evolve his talents into computer art, photography, and commercial art. Fans of his music and art aficionados alike seek his pieces around the world.
What Style Does Ringo Paint In?
As a painter, Ringo Starr shows his good humor and playful personality through his artwork. Compared to Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, his style is big and borders on graffiti art.
The initial release of his artwork featured close-up faces in bright colors with thick lines. We especially like the expressions conveyed through the eyes.
If you acquire one of his pieces, expect it to take up considerable wall space. Ringo Starr’s paintings are as big as thirty-six inches by forty-eight inches.
As Ringo’s visual creativity expanded, he added memorable photos from his Beatles days. However, other work is more abstract. Some key images went to advertising and memorabilia.
What is the Lotus Foundation?
The Lotus Foundation is a charitable organization created by Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach. The organization supports projects to advance social welfare on various issues, including substance abuse, brain tumors, battered women and children, and animals.
One hundred percent of Ringo Starr’s art proceeds go to the foundation. It’s registered in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Where Can I See Ringo Starr’s Art?
Ringo often has pop-up exhibits in the cities where the All-Starr Band plays. He also has dedicated exhibitors and sellers of his work.
The first place to take in Ringo Starr’s art is to go straight to his website. If you click on the gallery, you’ll see some of his more popular images by year, dating back to 2005.
Check out his merch table if you want to acquire a piece of Starr’s art without breaking the bank. Get a poster or a peace necklace if you’re lucky enough to grab one before they sell out.
You can also follow Ringo on social media, where you can stay up-to-date with all his musings and the All-Starr Band.
San Francisco Art Exchange
Established in 1983, the San Francisco Art Exchange (SFAE) represents historic pop culture artworks. They highlight music, film, cultural events, and world images by renowned artists and photographers.
Record-breaking sales established the SFAE as a premier purveyor of album cover-related and artwork from pop culture. Here, you can buy Ringo Starr photographs or prints signed by the artist himself.
Located at 458 Geary Boulevard, the SFAE is within a mile of popular locations like Fisherman’s Wharf, Little Saigon, and the Theatre District. The museum is currently closed to walk-ins but is available by appointment. Check out their website for more information.
Rock Star Gallery
The Rock Star Gallery caters to music collectibles and fine celebrity art. They offer authenticated memorabilia such as guitars and autographed albums.
Here you’ll find Ringo Starr’s first collection of paintings. In fact, the gallery features 14 different images with limited reproduction, each hand-signed by Ringo.
All the pieces are full-color, large face images that are fun and contemporary. Each expresses a unique emotion that’ll set the tone for any wall collection.
Schedule a visit Monday through Saturday between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm and Sunday between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm. You can visit the Rock Star Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, or on one of their many social platforms.
We could easily drop a couple of grand here.
Ringo Starr, a Man of Many Talents
Ringo Starr, the man, the drummer, the Beatle, and the painter. We love his playful, engaging style. We also love his positive attitude and how he gives his success back to the community. We’re trying to decide which Ringo-signed image will be our first.
Did you know before now that Ringo Starr was a painter? If you own a piece of his art, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!