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Ric Ocasek (March 23, 1944 – September 15, 2019) was an artist, musician and writer, perhaps best known as the rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the most successful New Wave band of the 70’s and 80’s, The Cars. He was the music producer for bands such as No Doubt, Nada Surf, Weezer, Suicide and Bad Brains.


Ocasek had been creating art since his youth and relaxed by making abstract drawings, spending much of his time creating pen and pencil drawings, doodles, photo collages, and mixed media paintings. “I’ve been drawing for most of my life. It’s like thinking on paper,” he said. For Ocasek, music and art went hand in hand, he considered his art as a kind of visual music, produced through a similar creative process. He said, “The process of drawing is the same as writing a song. They both start with a blank page.”

Like music, Ocasek’s artwork encompasses elements of rhythm, harmony and dynamics. He created art as an escape, each piece emerging as a “transient daydream” or diversion as he worked in his studio, passed time on airplanes or simply sat in a quiet spot. Self-described as colorful, abstract and unconscious, the artwork was an extension of himself—a collection of “self-portraits.”

“I do canvases with acrylics, but my main medium is drawing on paper, mostly with colored markers,” said Ocasek. “Art is a way to release tension and to organize my thoughts. It’s something I do while pondering an outcome. The drawings start with a shape and explode from there.” Some of his inspiration came from his close

friend Andy Warhol.  Andy created portraits of Ric and directed the band’s video for “Hello Again.” Ric loved Andy’s works and, in his words, “his stuff I loved not only because it looked amazing, but it was different than everyone else’s and had an idea behind it.”  

Ocasek liked all kinds of art, but was particularly attracted to pop art, and had a deep passion for taking photographs. Like the music of his beloved rock band The Cars, his drawings were unabashedly pop—and yet unlike his music’s super sleek veneer, these works are a bit rawer and more unedited, revealing meditative moments of a Zen-like drawing practice. Ocasek’s spontaneous, rhythmic mark-making is completely musical and explores repetition and patterns with psychedelic colors and sinuous lines.

Wentworth Gallery is honored to exclusively carry his collection of vibrant and eclectic works.  Ric was initially reserved about showcasing his art but Christian O’Mahony, President of Wentworth Gallery, convinced him to enlighten the world and showcase his talent.  Before his sad and untimely passing, he was to be honored at the distinguished Butler Institute of American Art Museum. He showcased and did in-person events at several exhibitions with Wentworth Gallery in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida.




RIC OCASEK

Artwork

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