Terry Richard has been a lot of things -- ad man, undercover agent, hotel concierge. But art has been the one constant.
Richard lived and painted for about 30 years on Hilton Head Island. His work is shown in private and public collections worldwide. But his day jobs have varied. He's served in the Air Force, worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency, designed ads for several agencies. All the while, he painted.
He now lives in Charleston and co-owns the Robison & Richard Fine Art on Broad Street.
"The Homecoming" is his return to the island, a showcase of his original abstract and realistic works on display at Picture This Gallery.
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Richard, an Ohio native, discusses where art has taken him.
Question. What's in this exhibit?
Answer. We'll have a lot of abstract pieces. I started painting abstracts in 1959. But originally I started as a classical painter. I still paint realistic and classical, so you'll see some of those pieces in the show, as well.
Q. Why abstract?
A. I got into it when the abstract expressionist movement came in the '50s. I had my idols -- (Franz) Kline and Jackson Pollock and so many others. I found out that you use the same concepts whether abstract or realistic. Shape, space, color and design -- that's what makes a successful painting no matter what style.
Q. When did you leave Hilton Head?
A. I left in 2000. I took a hiatus and went back to Ohio. I rented a loft on the Cuyahoga River, and I just painted. ... I spent eight years really refining my art. I came back and opened a gallery in Charleston with Wes Robison. He was the general manager of The Holiday Inn Oceanfront back in '94. He redid the whole hotel, and I did the murals. We became friends and he said, "How'd you like to be my concierge. You know all the restaurant people, the golf people, you know the island." So I ended up doing that.
Q. Sounds like you've had a varied career outside of art.
A. I was an art director for an agency in Ohio and two different agencies in Atlanta. I was undercover for the DEA. When I was undercover I went as an artist. That got me in places that other guys couldn't. I always took special assignments. But once I got shot the second time, I decided, that was it.