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Finding aid to the Rick Herold Photographs and Papers, 1959-2011

Finding aid prepared by Jeff Snapp, (c) 2013

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Summary Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Creator - Creator
Herold, Rick (Richard), 1941-
Rick Herold photographs and papers
Collection no.
Date [inclusive]
4.2 linear foot., 1 archive carton, 2 clamshell binders, 1 flat archive box
Photographs and papers by and about professional artist, author, and teacher Rick Herold. Herold used a variety of media and techniques including painting, reverse painting on plastic, neon, sculpture, performance art, and tattooing. Many of his works dealt with the relationship of the erotic and the spiritual.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] Rick Herold Photographs and Papers, Coll2013.025, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

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Biographical/Historical note

Richard (Rick) Herold was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1941, served in the Navy, and attended the Acadamie Julian in Paris, St. John's University in Minnesota, Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In California, he launched an art magazine while studying architectural arts at Otis and was the official Los Angeles County portrait painter from 1968-1970. Herold worked as a teacher at Pierce College and Los Angeles Junior Colleges before turning the Zephyr Theatre into a studio and center for art happenings, theater, and Esalen group events.

A published author of erotica including The Naked Artist, Rick Herold is best known as a professional artist. His work has been shown at many venues including the Orlando and Molly Barnes galleries in Los Angeles, the Zara Gallery in San Francisco, and in museum collections in Missouri, Colorado, and Oregon. Rick Herold used a variety of media and techniques including painting, reverse painting on plastic, neon, sculpture and tattooing. His artworks commonly dealt with the relationship of the erotic and the spiritual, drawing upon his interests in theology, fine art, Asian mandalas, and East Indian Tantric tankas. Herold was also interested in tribal and folk art which he incorporated into his tattoo designs and paintings. His work in tattoo art was documented in  Tattoo, a film collaboration with Michael McCullough.

On his website (, accessed in 2013), Herold discusses notable events in his artistic career, including a commission by Bob Hope to create "Stations of the Cross" in Cleveland, and his thirty-year retrospective exhibition at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in 2003.

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Scope and Contents

Photographic prints, negatives, 35mm slides, Herold-designed notecards and calendar, an advance copy of The Naked Artist (a book illustrated and written by Herold), assorted periodicals with Herold interviews, reviews, gallery ephemera, promotional materials, and papers documenting Rick Herold's history as an artist.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
(c) 2013
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


Donated by Rick Herold on July 9, 2011.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jeff Snapp, 2013.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Rick Herold artworks catalogued in the ONE art collection

ART2381 Bob Ekert [Enamel on Plexiglas]

ART2198 Unknown (buttocks of nude male hunched over) [Ink on paper]

ART2043 Male Nude [Painting - acrylic on vinyl mounted on canvas]

ART2064 Abstract Fold [Painting - acrylic on plexiglas]

9AR0002 Samson DeBrer [Painting on Plexiglass]

ART2142 John Parker (aka Buddah John) [Painting on Plexiglass box]

Separated Materials note

Posters separated into the ONE poster collection

Molly Barnes Gallery, "In the Garden of Earthly Delights"

Orlando Gallery, "Portrait Paintings Revealing Human Auras & Astral Colors" (signed copy)

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Gay erotic literature
  • Performance art--United States


  • Artists
  • Gay artists
  • Gay erotic art
  • Gays--Exhibitions
  • Homosexuality and art--United States--California

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Rick Herold collection 1959-2011 


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order.

Box Folder

 Art announcements undated 

1 1

 Art announcement cards undated 

1 2

 Art reviews 1970-2001 

1 3

 Art statements by Rick Herold, his resume, and an untitled drawing 1976-2008 

1 4

 Articles about Rick Herold 1969-2011 

1 5

 Artistic activities (other than painting) undated 

1 6

 Group show announcements 1959-1996 

1 7


Box Folder

 Abstract art undated   [133 35mm slides]

2 4

 Art undated   [3 contact sheets; 134 negative strips]

2 2

 Art undated   [189 35mm slides, 2 transparencies]

3 1

 Devine Decadence Party undated   [12 contact sheet pages; 72 negative strips]

2 1

 Paintings undated   [129 photographic prints; 10 transparencies]

3 2

 Rick Herold and gardens undated   [13 photographic prints]

2 3

 Rick Herold with paintings undated   [14 oversized photographic prints]

Scope and contents

Portraits of Rick Herold that appear in magazine articles as well as a poster for his Molly Barnes exhibition.

4 1
Box Folder

 Publications 1959-2010 

Scope and Contents

Includes an advance copy of Rick Herold's "The Naked Artist" and the Otis Art Institute "Image" volumes 1, 2, and 4.

1 8

 Stationary and calendar circa 2011 

1 9

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