Marilyn Monroe. 1973. 8 " x 10" Graphite on Illustration Board. Collection of George Rodriguez. The inspiration for this drawing was a parallel to Botticelli's painting of the ancient myth of Venus rising from the sea.

Barrymore and his Muse. 1973. 11" x 14". Graphite on Illustration Board. Private Collection. Theatrical and Film idol John Barrymore is seen through the glass of an alcohol bottle. In the reflections of the bottle is the figure of a woman, representing Barrymore's muse or source of inspiration.

For the Price of Admission - Jean Harlow. 1973. 8" x 10". Collection of Margaret Van Der Ahe. This drawing with its keyhole in Harlow's body and the crumpled ticket stub overlapping the image represents the belief that ticket holders are entitled to participate in the private life of the public person.


Paintings -

The "Idols" Series

Idols - Errol Flynn. 1977. 8" x 10". In the "Idols" series (44 paintings in all), I used the theme of masks for two reasons. In both primitive and highly developed cultures, using masks as part of the drama art form to advance clearly the story is commonplace. I extended this use to include the stereotyping of performers in Hollywood's "Golden Age" and rendered the faces of numerous performers in this mask style. The visual source for this use was Alberto Vargas' Greta Garbo rendered as if Garbo was made from precious jewels, and the high front lit portraits of George Hurrell that, by their shading, eliminated the eyes of the subjects, making them more form than flesh. The Idols series expanded into half figures and then finally, full figures, all using the mask imagery for their faces.
I was also influenced by the plaster makeup department casts of stars' faces. These casts emphasize form, not personality, and make clear that in come cases, their personalities defined their images not their appearances.
Collection of the artist.

Idols - Jean Harlow. 1978. 30" x 60". One of the full length portraits of the mask series which included Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Esther Williams, Carole Lombard and Betty Grable. The half-figures included Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Greta Garbo and Fred Astaire. The individual face masks included John Gilbert, Robert Taylor, Norma Shearer and Judy Garland.

These paintings were heavily influenced by the dramatic lighting in photography of George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull and Otto Dyar, whose photo of Carole Lombard from "Bolero" was the inspiration for the full length series.

The cinematography of Josef Von Sternberg was also an influence. The portrait photographers at Paramount Studios who were assigned to the Marlene Dietrich films directed by Von Sternberg indicated that they were instructed to use the same lighting he used to illuminate Dietrich in the films ("Morocco,""Shanghai Express,""The Devil is a Woman") for their photographs - and why not? The high contrast lit, sculptural lighting Von Sternberg used to flatter Dietrich was just as suitable for the photos. The images of Dietrich emerging from a black background, all cheekbones and eyes, are eternal.

The half-figure portraits were inspired by the color photography of Bob Coburn, particularly his images of Rita Hayworth. In many cases, the sources for the paintings were black and white, requiring that I adapt the works to color. In this area I used the color approach of the "better than real life" technicolor of the 1940's.

Collection of the artist.

"Religious Experiences" - Continuing Paintings/Drawings

The combination of religion and film interests me greatly. The way in which fans attach themselves with a fervor approaching and sometimes exceeding worship is a powerful phenomenon. The fans are not the only people consumed with these images, so are some of the icons themselves. Joan Crawford as "Our Lady of Perpetual Determination" in my painting done in a mock-religious style/Gothic style uses the sacred heart imagery so present in religious art, and adds film strips to represent Crawford's own fervor for her image and career.

Collection of Ronald Steen.


Photo by Roger G. James 

Representation by THE ORLANDO GALLERY 818 789-6012

Resume - Richard Adkins

  • "The Art of Collage" - Gerald Brommer 
  • The Michigan State University Quartery 
  • After Dark Magazine 
  • Los Angeles Magazine 
  • New West Magazine 
  • Art in America 
  • Portfolio 
  • Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits 
  • Space Gallery 
  • Orlando Gallery (Representation) 
  • Downey Museum of Art 
  • Palos Verdes Museum of Art 
  • Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery 
  • Not Really Gallery, New York 
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hal Kanter 
  • Michael McCullogh 
  • Eva Marie Saint 
  • Lyle Waggoner 
  • Diana Ross 
  • Security Pacific Collection - London 
  • Suzanne Muchnic 
  • Commercial Work of Richard Adkins