Here's an excerpt from a DollyPOP review in Metro Pulse by Coury Turczyn (click HERE for complete article):
Paul Richmond’s “The Dollypop Guild” is perhaps the biggest attention-getter at the show. In vibrant Technicolor hues, it portrays Dolly as Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz, encapsulated in a pink sphere of magic as she wields her sparkling wand. In the distance, a sign for Dollywood points down the yellow brick road, promising sanctuary. Standing in ruby slippers is the artist himself as a young boy, watching the delightful spectacle.
“In a campy, over-the-top way, this piece represents the magic and inspiration I found in Dolly during a difficult time in my life, a time during which I felt incredibly alone,” writes Richmond in an e-mail. “The amazing and somewhat poignant outcome of the DollyPOP exhibit is that I’ve met many others who connect with the painting, having walked that same yellow brick road themselves.”
Richmond, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, says he found inspiration in Dolly as he grew up “as a little repressed gay boy in the Midwest.” He often incorporates his own personal narratives in his work, reflecting his journey to self-acceptance—and Dolly provided help along the way.
“After watching The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas as a child, I decided I wanted to grow up and be like Dolly,” Richmond writes. “This wasn’t exactly an acceptable aspiration in my hometown, but I was drawn to the flamboyant entertainer because of her over-the-top persona and seemingly abundant self-confidence. Throughout my life I struggled with my desire to fit in, all the while knowing that I was very different from my peers. I saw in Dolly a kindred spirit, someone who chose an offbeat path and made it work.”
When it came time for his Dolly tribute, Richmond had found his perfect muse, and the result is a dazzling meeting of artist and subject: bold, colorful, playful. But this wasn’t the first time he had devoted a piece to Dolly.
“I had the pleasure of meeting her as a child and presenting her with a drawing that I had labored over for months,” Richmond writes. “She was incredibly sweet and the experience was a milestone of my young adult life, helping me learn that I could set goals and make them come true. When I found out about the DollyPOP show, I knew I wanted to try and portray that experience and the inspiration I found in her at such a young age.”