Paul Richmond’s Ins and Outs collection is more than the sum of his art work to date. This book is also the story of his life told pictorially. The paintings show where he came from as a young boy trying to express himself, not being sure who he was, the brave face he showed the world, and ultimately he reveals the man – in all his different layers.
In A World Apart Paul gives the readers an artistic representation of his earliest days when he struggled with his sexuality, and the uncertainty he faced as a boy, being different from the other boys but not knowing why, since sexual orientation was something he was too young to grasp. He assumed that there was something wrong with him, that he lived in a world apart from everyone he knew.
His paintings are striking as well as expressive as he bares his soul in each section of the book, starting with wanting to grow up and be Dolly Parton when he saw the “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” at age 5. Dolly represented a safe place and an ideal world and eventually, as an adult, he was able to present the painting on the left to his idol. This experience led him down the road to where he is today – a successful artist.
Paul’s biggest struggle was coming to terms with being gay which was inconsistent with his Catholic beliefs, and many of his paintings show his conflict of trying to be who he was despite his upbringing. His journey is similar to that of other gay men and at times I felt like a voyeur while reading Ins and Outs, as if I were peeking into his home as he walked around naked inside.
His paintings are original, moving, and beautiful and in the book he takes us on his journey from a child to a fully actualized man who knows what he wants, and at 29 he certainly has made his mark. One picture in the book titled First Time Out showed his turnmoil as he tried to reach for his goal but is still repressed and this theme is heartbreaking. In Self Illusion, one of the most poignant paintings in the book, you get the sense that Paul is hiding from himself and the rest of the world by wearing a bold mask designed to conceal who he really is but he doesn’t quite succeed, because the sad and luminous eyes give him away.
In case you didn’t think that Paul has a sense of humour about his life and lifestyle, he did a series of paintings that he called The Cheesecake Boys, a homage to the cheesecake girls in a much earlier time and here are a few of my favourites –
Here are a few pictures of his cover art, many of which are well known to readers of Male/Male or gay romances, a recent field for Paul where he has become very successful –
Paul’s sexual orientation is a powerful influence on his paintings and these 50 pieces are more than just art, they are who he is.