Texas Renegades Presenting
Adragna's Carnal Fantasies
By Billie Duncan
Competent artists depict things, good
artist depict thoughts, and great artists
Perhaps Rober t J. Adragna is not a
great artist, but his work evokes a sense of,
well, lust from the viewer.
Cowboys, horses, guns, leather,
outerspace—these all are elements in the
works that are now on display at Texas
Renegades, 1318 Westheimer. But the
overpowering element in Adragna's
meticulously crafted paintings is his own
awareness of the attraction of the sensual
"I'm fascinated by the way a person
wears a pair of pants or a belt," said
Adragna. "the way something is shaped
to them that best displays their personality."
Lest someone should get the wrong
impression, a word of clarification: these
paintings are not pornographic, they are
Adragna's style is a form of theatrical
super-realism. His paintings were created,
for the most part, as illustratins for books.
It seems that a lot of the books took place
in the Old West—an area for which
Adragna (a native New Yorker) has a
"One thing I was disappointed in when I
came to Houston was that hardly anyone
was wearing cowboy hats."
Adragna is very attactive to costuming,
and, though he uses real people as models,
he clothes them in his mind the way he
would like to see them. "You know what's
the fun thing about painting—people like
this, you get to dress people up in your
fantasies. And, in a way, they don't know
He confessed that he has been known to
dress for bed, himself. "I have an absolute
fettish for blue jeans," he said with a slow
smile, and admitted that he thinks jeans
have a place in lovemaking "if they're a
turn-on for the other person."
He paused for a moment, his brown eye
searching for the right thought. "The trouble with porno films is that they get
undressed too fast."
If he were to direct a pomo film, he said
that he would have "all the different types.
The Village People were perfect for me.
But they didn't carry it far enough."
As far as plot was concerned, he said, "I
would like it if you didn't get to the orgasm
until you had explored all the other possibilities. The orgasm would come at the
very end of the movie."
But his favorite films are western and
science fiction, and he said that his art is
very influenced by the films he sees. He is
pleased with how well his film sense has
worked in with his illustrating jobs, but he
feels that he would like to have more freedom of expression in his painting than he
is allowed working as an illustrator. "I
would like to go bolder into the fantasy."
Eighteen of the 22 pictures in his Houston show were originally done as illustrations. Of the other four, two are of
Adragna'B lover of five years, David.
One of them is titled "Number Ten" and
is on the list of paintings in the number 10
spot. Adragna explained that he had had
no title for the painting, but when he was
making out the list, it fell to the number 10
spot. "I thought, 'How appropriate!'"
The only painting that does not have at
least one male figure in it is called "American Dream" and is an acrylic of the grill of
a vintage Cadillac.
"A Mercedes Benz is not as sexy as an
There are no paintings of women in the
show. He thought of one that he decided
Artist Robert Adragna
not to bring. "I didn't bring the painting
because it's (the show) in a gay bar. And
she's dressed in leather, of all things!"'
He said he would like to try his hand at
painting fantasy images of women, but
"most publishers are too conservative,
unless it's Playboy or something like
Adragna's illustrations are generally
commissioned by such people as Ace
Books, Dell Publishing, Jove Publications, Berkeley Publishing and the American Post Card Company (for whom he has
done two cowboys).
Several of his pictures recently
NOV. 11, 1983/ MONTROSE VOICE 17
appeared in The Advocate, which is where
Creative Source, 702 Avondale, and Gor-
dana Kristofic of Texas Renegades
Gordana decided she wanted to bring
him to Houston. "I wanted to show how
someone from New York saw cowboys,"
Robert J. Adragna's cowboys (and other
men) will be on display at Renegades
through Sunday, and the charming artist
will be on hand tonight, tomorrow and
Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. to discuss his
work and, hopefully, sell some paintings.
It would be nice to keep some of his fantasy cowboys in Texas where they belong!
Winter's the Time
Feeling down? Gaining weight? Sleeping
more lately? You're not crazy, you're hibernating, reports Omni.
Researchers at the National Institute of
Mental Health have discovered that some
of us get bummed out as the days start
shortening and don't come out of our blue
funks until springtime.
"I should have been a bear," complains
one sufferer. "Bears are allowed to hibernate; humans aren't."
The researchers say they've obtained
successful results simply by plunking
their patients down under lamps to prolong daylight artificially. For a longer-
term cure, they suggest imitating the birds
by flying south for the winter.
But don't go too far south. Down under,
they get depressed, too, from June to
611 HYDE PARK