Slide I had a dream where I was holding my guitar. In front of me were Lions finishing a meal. I made a quick sketch of the dream that morning, and later a more detailed sketch. I wanted to find the color and placement of elements, so I created a watercolor study to figure out composition. Owls are a symbol of imminent death. The Egg and owl can also represent rebirth, but don’t count on it.

Lately I have been reading Dante. I know I won’t get a direct path to Heaven, but hopefully I will get somewhere in Purgatory. Anywhere is fine, I at least hope to get a chance. Clouds above are the faces of others waiting in Purgatory. The Virus is also a symbol of imminent death. A Monarch Butterfly appears as a symbol of the soul leaving the body. Santa Muerte’s skeletal hand beckons you. The knife and cheese symbolize The Last Supper. The three fires throughout the painting make a triangle and warn those to avoid the fires of hell.

Beatrice stands on a chariot pulled by a griffin in the temple, which serves as the gate to Purgatory. She wears a white veil with leaves, a red dress and a green cape. Angel wings circulate in the sky, spinning as a golden ratio spiral where Beatrice will eventually take Dante.
The Gate to Purgatory
Oil on Canvas, 48"x36"

Richard Hagerty

American Surrealist

Surrealism provides the inspiration for Richard Hagerty’s art, from his earliest dream-based watercolors of the 1970’s to his striking and brilliant watercolors of today. One of the seminal modernist styles of the 20th century, surrealism started as a literary and intellectual movement in Paris. The movement was expansive, psychoanalytical, experimental and pluralistic – an ideal fit for Hagerty’s world view.

Through his art, Hagerty brings to life the essence and visions of the conscious, the unconscious, and the imagination. His work collapses the laws of space and time and sweeps the viewer into his extraordinarily vivid dreams, his fascination with myth and symbols, and his infinite curiosity about, and experimentation with, color and form. His paintings are figurative, intensely emotional, evocative, whimsical, at times dark, and demand an immediate devotion to the images on the canvas as well as the artist’s psyche.

Click here to listen to an interview with Richard Hagerty in Walter Edgar’s Journal.