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Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr Stages First Art Exhibit In New York City

Steve Frank, Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- We know he's got the magical touch when it comes to music But drummer Ringo Starr is proving he's a man of many talents.

An exclusive exhibition featuring the former Beatle's "computer art" opened June 19 (and continues through July 3) at Pop International Galleries in Soho. The show features 14 different images, all signed by the drummer himself.

An exclusive exhibition featuring the former Beatle's "computer art" opened June 19 (and continues through July 3) at Pop International Galleries in Soho. The show features 14 different images, all signed by the drummer himself.

Starr said he started doing computer art to give him something to do while he was on the road touring. WNBC.com’s Managing Editor, Steve Frank, caught up with Starr at the gallery. The following is a transcript of the interview:

WNBC.com: Ringo, the place looks fantastic, the art is exciting.

RS: Yeah thanks. Yeah, it’s really exciting to see your art on the wall, framed even! Who knew.


Ringo Starr at Art Opening in New York

Ringo Starr at Art Opening in New York

WNBC.com: How did it come about?

RS: Well, it started on tour, when I was on tour with nothing better to do, sitting in all those different hotel rooms and (I) got the computer out and found this program, a painting program, and that’s how it started. I started actually just doing sort of design, you know, and then I did the first set with the mouse. It’s very hard to draw with the mouse. And then I got a drawing pad, you know, a slate and you can…an electronic one. That’s how we did them in the end

WNBC.com: Did somebody show you how to do this, or did you just fiddle with it on your own?

RS: No, I just found out how you do it.

WNBC.com: I notice some of them say ‘Zak’ [a reference to his eldest son, Zak Starkey]

RS: No, only one of them says Zak because I’m not really, you know, fully computer literate [chuckles] and I’ve…on one of the buttons I found letters, so I just…three letters, put them together and thought, I’ll try to move them to see if I could do that. I actually moved them to his hat and then I thought, no not really I’ll take him away but I didn’t know how to take them away so that’s…

they’re there. And that’s part of the joy really, you know, that you get stuff that…you haven’t really planned it. You know you plan most of it, but suddenly its things like that, little crazy accidents, that I quite enjoy.

WNBC.com: It seems like everything has a face. Is that on purpose?

RS: Well they’re all faces. How bright, looky you, yeah! [Looks at the camera] Can you bring out the ones that don’t have faces [laughs]! This is the guy who said that [pulls interviewer into camera range], you’re not going to get away with that, thank you. They’re called my people actually. They’re all heads. Whew!

WNBC.com: Is this a new career?

RS: No, it’s something else I do. You know I mean I’m a musician, I’m a drummer, I write songs, I sing, I make CDs and now I’ve started doing this. I’ve actually been painting for the last, well, since about 1990 really, but that was with acrylic. Now I have a friend who’s a painter who said, ‘well, what about oil.’ And he


Ringo Starr at the Artist opening

Ringo Starr in the Soho Gallery

gave me a few lessons on oil. But this is just purely computer. So, this is why we’re here. This is the computer art.

WNBC.com: And how are you feeling today, are you proud, are you nervous?

RS: I feel great! Yeah, I know, I feel really…I felt really nervous on the way to the thing ‘cause your paintings are up now, but I just loved it when I came in ‘cause it looks great as you pan around,to see your stuff is great and its for a good cause [all of the artist's proceeds will go to benefit the Lotus US Foundation Charity] and that’s the deal.

WNBC.com: And you have a new album out.

RS: And I have a new album called ‘Choose Love.’

WNBC.com: Tell me a little about that, ‘Choose Love.’

RS: ‘Choose Love,’ yeah.

WNBC.com: There’s a song on it called ‘Wrong All The Time’ on it.

RS: There is.

WNBC.com: What inspired that?

  Ringo Starr in Art Gallery

RS: So which one do you want to know about, ‘Choose Love’ or Wrong All The Time?’

WNBC.com: Both.

RS: There’s also one ‘Faded In And Faded Out,’ which you will be doing soon [laughs].

WNBC.com: Very soon!

RS: ‘Wrong All The Time,’ everybody likes that ‘cause you know Barb and I were having this row, so I’d been hanging out…we have the band Ringo and the Roundheads, so we really know each other really very well and if somebody says something, we usually write a song about it.

So I came into the studio and (said), ‘well, why am I wrong all the time?’ And you know we started work. And then I walked the dog because I have the studio at home. And I came back and Gary Burr said, ‘ah, I’ve got this bit of a melody for why am I wrong all the time.’ That’s how it came about.

WNBC.com: What’s in your future Ringo? I know you had surgery (to repair damage to his shoulder caused by years of drumming).

RS: I had surgery last year, but you know they’re both doing OK now, I can do this at least [raises his arms above his shoulders]. I was doing this before it [raises his arms below the shoulders], so they’re really well now. You know I’m doing this promotional tour with the Roundheads because I think that would be enough shoulder work and next year I’ll be completely well and we’ll do an All-Starrs, OK!

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