Ric Ocasek is an artist, musician and writer, perhaps best known as guitarist and
songwriter for The Cars and music producer for bands such as No Doubt, Nada Surf,
Weezer, Suicide and Bad Brains.
Ocasek has been creating art since his youth and unwinds by making abstract drawings,
spending much of his time creating pen and pencil drawings, photo collages, and mixed
media paintings. “I’ve been drawing for most of my life. It’s like thinking on paper,”
he says. For Ocasek, music and art go hand in hand, considering his art as a kind
of visual music, produced through a similar creative process. He says, “The process
of drawing is the same as writing a song. They both start with a blank page.”
Like music, Ocasek’s artwork encompasses elements of rhythm, harmony and dynamics.
He creates art as an escape, each piece emerging as a “transient daydream” or diversion
as he works in his studio, passes time on airplanes or simply sits in a quiet spot.
Self-described as colorful, abstract and unconscious, the artwork is an extension
of himself—a collection of “self-portraits.”
“I do canvases with acrylics, but my main medium is drawing on paper, mostly with
colored markers,” says Ocasek. “Art is a way to release tension and to organize my
thoughts. It’s something I do while pondering an outcome. The drawings start with
a shape and explode from there.”
Ocasek likes all kinds of art, but is particularly attracted to Pop Art, and has
a deep passion for taking photographs. Like the music of his beloved rock band The
Cars, his drawings are unabashedly pop—and yet unlike his music’s super sleek veneer,
these works are a bit more raw and unedited, revealing meditative moments of a Zen-like
drawing practice. Ocasek’s spontaneous, rhythmic mark-making is completely musical
and explores repetition and patterns with psychedelic colors and sinuous lines.
Ric Ocasek has exhibited his artworks at the Cinders Gallery in New York in 2010,
and at the Mahan Gallery in Columbus, Ohio in 2009. As for Ocasek’s own role in the
art world, he says, “I’d make work, whether I showed it or not. I see art everywhere;
it doesn’t have to be a museum or a gallery. Art is a frame of mind.”