"An apt retelling of a boisterous life, full of fascinating vignettes, charm, and irony." -- Enrique Mallen, Online Picasso Project, Texas A&M University
"Chronicles Lamb's unlikely ascent from hearse driver to CEO to accomplished artist..." -- ARTnews
"A captivating biography..." -- The Oregonian (Portland)
"A fascinating read that is hard to put down." -- Folk Art Messenger
"Outrageously funny, vividly colorful..." -- The Southern Star (County Cork, Ireland)
"Ready-made material for a Hollywood movie..." -- The Coral Gables Gazette (Miami)
"Most biographies lope along. This one runs and jumps." -- The Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon)
"Richard Speer powerfully illuminates Lamb's art, life, and career... taking the reader on a detailed journey through the artist's humble origins, personal struggles, and the birth and development of his intriguing artistic techniques..." -- Stephanie Snyder, Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon)
MATT LAMB: THE ART OF SUCCESS (John Wiley & Sons, 2005, Revised edition forthcoming 2013)
The definitive biography of Irish-American artist Matt Lamb (1932-2012)
by Richard Speer
Order from Amazon.com
Press coverage includes reviews and articles in ARTnews; Folk Art Messenger; The Chicago Sun-Times; The Chicago Reader; The Sunday Independent (Dublin, Ireland); The Southern Star (County Cork, Ireland); The Oregonian (Portland); The Statesman Journal (Salem, OR); Willamette Week (Portland, OR); The Miami New Times; The Coral Gables Gazette (Miami); Art Premium (San Juan, Puerto Rico); The Portland Tribune; The Daily Southtown (Chicago); The Daily Northwestern (Chicago); as well as appearances by Richard Speer on ArtStar with Eva Lake (KPSU-AM Portland, OR) and Art Focus with Julie Bernard (KBOO-AM, Portland, OR); and online appearances by Richard Speer in forums devoted to Art Brut, Outsider Art, and contemporary painting.
Richard Speer at Powell's City of Books, Portland, Oregon
Matt Lamb: The Art of Success kicked off with synchronized book events at art galleries and bookstores in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Matt Lamb made a personal appearance promoting the book at a fundraiser for the Little Company of Mary Hospital, Chicago, and Richard Speer debuted the book with a reading at Powell's City of Books, Portland, Oregon.
Concurrent with Art Basel Miami Beach, Richard Speer gave a reading at Books & Books' flagship Coral Gables location. Flanked by five Lamb paintings on loan from the nearby ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, Richard read the entirety of Chapter One, Matt Lamb: The Art of Success, then took questions from the audience and signed books. After-parties included soirées in Coconut Grove and South Beach.
Richard Speer discussed Matt Lamb: The Art of Success at the writer's conference, "Selling Your Scholarship: Writing Marketable Nonfiction," sponsored by the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.
Richard appeared on the panel, "Writing from Life," alongside Maura Conlon-McIvor, author of FBI Girl (Warner Books). The conference was held at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Oregon.
As part of his Matt Lamb lecture series, Richard Speer gave a series of PowerPoint presentations about Matt Lamb's life and work, including the talk shown below at Portland Community College.
Richard Speer discusses Matt Lamb's life story and artistic trajectory as part of his lecture in a seminar by marketing expert Martha Rudolph.
From the book jacket:
"Matt Lamb emerged from the rough-and-tumble streets of 1940s Southside Chicago to transform a cash-poor funeral parlor into a multimillion-dollar business empire. But when a mysterious midlife illness caused him to question the true value of his myriad accomplishments, Lamb stunned family, friends, colleagues, and competitors by turning his back on business to become a self-taught painter. The undulating spirits and flamboyant depictions of heaven and hell that sprang from his brush were at once sophisticated and primitive, life-affirming and disturbing.
Today, Lamb's unique vision has made him one of the world's most controversial painters. Tagged by some as an "Outsider artist," a designation he has alternately embraced and rejected, Lamb has seen his work collected by museums, universities, celebrities, and royalty -- even as his art has been blacklisted by some of New York's most powerful dealers. He has won rapturous reviews from critics in publications from London to Shanghai and has been hailed as an heir to Pablo Picasso, even as he -- and his millions -- have been derided as the antithesis of starving-artist chic.
In Matt Lamb: The Art of Success, renowned writer and critic Richard Speer tells Lamb's story in a no-holds-barred style that is both uncompromising and uplifting. Given unprecedented access to Lamb's inner circle and the artist himself, Speer traverses the world to discover what drove Lamb to triumph in the diametrically opposed worlds of art and business. Speer coaxes Lamb to open up about his personal and artistic crises, the unconventional spiritual beliefs that inform his paintings, and his daunting current project: painting for world peace. This is a fascinating biography and artistic chronicle, filled with inspiration for finding true success in every aspect of life."
PRAISE FOR RICHARD SPEER'S MATT LAMB: THE ART OF SUCCESS
"A captivating biography..."
– Beverly Close, The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
"Outrageously funny, vividly colorful..."
– Carol Gilbert, The Southern Star
"Ready-made material for a Hollywood movie..."
– The Coral Gables Gazette (Miami, Florida)
"Most biographies lope along; this one runs and jumps. Speer is fascinated by Lamb, as will be any reader. After all, how many art books open with a sentence anything like, "There are demons in the gallery"?
– Dan Hays, The Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon)
"Richard Speer powerfully illuminates Lamb's art, life, and career... Speer takes the reader on a detailed journey through the artist's humble origins, personal struggles, and the birth and development of his intriguing artistic techniques..."
– Stephanie Snyder, Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon)
"An entertaining and educational read for the lay person as well as the scholar, Matt Lamb: The Art of Success is a well-conceived, cleverly written global view of Lamb’s personal and artistic life. With clarity and humor, Richard Speer engulfs the reader in Lamb's world, pointing out his many paradoxes and introducing us to the diverse network of people surrounding the artist… This is an apt retelling of a boisterous life, full of fascinating vignettes, charm, and irony."
– Enrique Mallen, Ph.D., Picasso scholar and professor, Texas A&M University
"Mr. Speer guides us with insight and humor through the amazing story of Matt Lamb, an artist who lives large while tip-toeing on the sidelines of death."
– George Wendt, Actor
"...Emphasizes that the American Dream is alive and well. A great story!"
– Robert L. Waltrip, Chairman/CEO, Service Corporation International
"Richard Speer brings insight and sensitivity to the envisioning, making, and business of art through the evolution of Matt Lamb. We follow Lamb's creative choices, his development of process, selection of materials, and so much more -- all with the artist's salty approach and focus on love as a primal force."
– Nancy Azara, Artist and Author of Spirit Taking Form: Making a Spiritual Practice of Making Art
"Matt Lamb: The Art of Success showcases an extraordinary life built on hard work and raw talent. Richard Speer's biography of Lamb shows that being an artist, entrepreneur, visionary, and Teamster are not mutually exclusive. In this inspiring story, they are all parts of one man's remarkable life."
– James Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
"Lamb is an earthy blend of multiple strata: keen business acumen, spiritual curiosity, uninhibited artistry, and infectious enthusiasm. With so much texture and so many layers, the man, his work, and this book catch and hold our attention."
– Fabrice Braunrot, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
"Matt Lamb represents that innocent child in each of us who is alive with creativity and energy. Like his paintings, this book is created in layers and allows us to go into each period of Lamb's life so we may better understand him and the spirits coming out of his canvases."
– David Sabin, Founder and Chairman, Salton USA
Designer Pierre Cardin and Matt Lamb at the artist's opening, Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris, October 2, 1990
Pope John Paul II accepts a catalogue of Matt Lamb's exhibition at The Vatican Museums, April 7, 1994.
Her Royal Highness, Princess Michael of Kent, and Matt Lamb at the artist's installation, Westminster Cathedral, London, June 6, 2000.
BACK TO RICHARD'S WELCOME PAGE
BACK TO RICHARD'S CURRICULUM VITAE