When Ringo was born on July 7, 1940 in Liverpool, his parents - Richard Starkey and Elsie Gleave - decided that Ringo should be named after his father. But his parents' marriage did not last and Ringo and his mother had to move to a smaller house because of financial constraints. His mother remarried a few years later and Harry Graves became Ringo's step father. It was Harry who bought Ringo his first drum set.
In 1959, Ringo officially joined a band called Rory Storm and the Raving Texans. It was around this time that Ringo received his nick name. Since Ringo used to wear many rings on his fingers, he was urged to adopt the moniker "Ringo"; it placed a western, cowboy spin to the word ring. He also decided to shorten his last name Starkey to Starr so that his drum solo act could be billed as "Starr" time. And thus the name Ringo Starr was born.
In 1960, the group went over to Hamburg to play at the Kaiserkeller and this was where Ringo became acquainted with The Beatles. In August of 1962, Ringo was asked to join The Beatles and he jumped at the opportunity. The rest, as they say, is history!
As a visual artist, Ringo started out using acrylics and oils, creating paintings for many years before he decided to start composing art on his computer. “I started in the late nineties with my computer art. While I was touring it gave me something to do in all those crazy hotels you have to stay in on the road." After his first exhibition of paintings in 2005, that he called “My Faces,” Ringo has continued to evolve and create new and different artworks over the years.
Ringo's artwork is collected worldwide and he has had exhibitions in Europe, South America, Australia, and the United States. His design for the Knot For Violence campaign sold out in one day, and another of his paintings was used for the Hard Rock Hotels Signature Series t-shirt collection. In addition to that, his images have been used on Timberland boots and clothing for the menswear company Robert Graham.
In 2013 Ringo released a collection of his own photographs that he had taken during his time with The Beatles. This selection of images was the result of a project he undertook creating a scrapbook of images and memorabilia describing this period in his life in a book he released with Genesis Publications at the same time. These photographs have sold well and been very popular with collectors around the world. He has since followed up with several additional photographs.
All the proceeds from his art sales go to the Lotus Foundation, a charitable organization that Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara formed in 1998 in the UK, and the US in 2005. Its mission is to fund, support, participate in and promote charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas, included but not limited to substance abuse, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, cancer, battered women and their children, homelessness, and animals in need.