Richard St. Clair on his 1961 Harley-Davidson Panhead, AKA Queenie. “The bike came to me in 1975 at the time my wife was expecting our first child. So we sort of had twins — one for the barn, one for the crib.” (Come meet Dick and see his work at TSY June 17th, 6-9pm.)
“If you don’t know Richard St. Clair– you don’t know Dick!“
The first time I tried-out this line on Dick St. Clair– he cackled with delight. Not one of those forced, polite laughs– this was like a kid facedown in birthday cake kinda laugh. You see, Dick to this day is simultaneously amused and annoyed that something as honest and simple as going by the name Dick (his given name, mind you) makes certain people uncomfortable. Some people will wince, others kindly ask if they can call him by another name. Yes. If “Dick” makes you uncomfortable, please call him– Biggus Dickus.
Now that we got that outta the way.. Seriously– You really don’t know dick about biker art if you’ve never experienced the works of Richard (Dick) St. Clair. Dick is the real deal– having spent a good many years logging countless miles on his Harley in the ’70s – ’90s riding cross-country to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Daytona Bike Week, Harley Rendezvous, and everywhere in between. He took photos that captured the life of free-wheelers, outlaws, and strays living life on their own terms. Many of these photographs gave birth to his epic paintings. There are many sides of Richard St. Clair to discover– he’s a storyteller, writer, photographer, and yes– one amazing fucking painter.
On June 17th, TSY presents “Live Cheap– Never Die” The Art of Richard St. Clair.
Trust Me, original oil painting by Richard St. Clair. SOLD! Signed posters available.
Richard St. Clair’s paintings are richly layered with a striking shock of color and beauty that project Dick’s raw reflection of his encounters with many a character on the road, and the freedom that you can only get from riding.
“There comes a point when you don’t even know the motorcycle is there. Being on a bike out in the wild is about rebellion and self-reliance. It’s also about quality of life, an intimacy with nature and being like a bird flying– it’s like you’re flying.”
Promised Land, original oil painting by Richard St. Clair, size: 8′ 5″ x 6′
Richard St. Clair would log many months-worth of miles on the road every summer, year after year. He’d leave his home in Massachusetts and ride out west to Utah, Wyoming, wherever the wind would take him.
“You can’t stay here all the time– it’s oppressive. I’d leave a ghost– I’d come back my real self. I’d come back with stories. I used the summer to travel– then I hibernated in my studio in the winter.”
“You have to escape to keep feeling alive– for me it was necessary. For me it was about getting on my Harley and riding out west– talking to people and getting a fresh perspective.”
Couple, original oil painting by Richard St. Clair, size: 26″ x 38″
The Selvedge Yard invites you to experience a fresh perspective too through the work and words of our friend, the artist Richard St. Clair. He will be on-hand to hangout, talk about his paintings, and give a reading from his companion books on life on the road– “Trust Me” & “love@thespeedoffear”
“Live Cheap– Never Die” The Works & Words of Richard St. Clair– June 17th 6-9pm
Featuring 12 of Richard St. Clair’s epic, original oil paintings on display at our TSY shop in New Hope, PA– ranging in size from 20″ x 16″ up to 8′ 5″‘ x 6’, available for purchase.
Also at the TSY event on June 17th 6-9pm, there will be a very limited number of Richard St. Clair signed poster prints available for $100 each, and signed books available for $25 each.
TSY / RICHARD ST. CLAIR EVENT DETAILS:
- Happening at The Selvedge Yard store
- 110 S. Main Street, New Hope, PA 18938
- Between Fran’s Pub & Marty’s BBQ
- June 17th, 6-9pm
- RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cold beer while it lasts
Richard St. Clair– traveler, artist and writer now resides in Philadelphia, having lived three decades in rural Massachusetts. While in New England he absorbed that region’s penchant for self-reliance. His guiding preference: make choices based on instinct; then keep it simple, keep it real.
Soon this attitude linked St. Clair with the American biker culture, never having guessed that his former graduate studies at the University of Chicago would lead to such uncharted territory.
As an artist St. Clair joined the 1970’s art/painting scene in Soho, New York. Shortly thereafter, he hooked up with Harley-Davidson bikers and began crossing the country alone on an old 1961 Panhead — writing stories, photographing people and places as subjects for a new kind of art. Why? Because people from the biker world, though they came from different walks of life and many different places, had an agreement about one thing– FREEDOM, in its broadest sense. They were all living it their own way, within an instinctive culture fashioned after the “American experiment.” For them respect was based on feeling and action. Whoever else you wanted to be was extra information. It didn’t take much thinking or judgment to live that way; all it took was being a participant.
For thirty years St. Clair sold stories, paintings and prints of his experience to bikers and adventurers — men and women. They came from other countries and all social levels to view and be part of the notorious American biker scene. His images, stories and C.D.’s have traveled with him as examples of freedom for fellow travelers. St. Clair’s paintings have been shown in New York City’s SOHO and Chelsea art galleries as well as in Canada, Japan and Europe. Under the logo Live Cheap-Never Die, St. Clair played a major role in documenting the dynamics of the biker phenomenon.
What was the attraction that drew so many people into a culture which celebrated the human spirit by taking to the highways to breathe the airs. What was going on? It was freedom calling; and it still is – a word known to everyone, but whose benefits offer a new frontier which few dare to cross and explore.
Who will be next?