About Who I Am
In Chemistry, Dispersity is a measure of the heterogeneity of sizes of molecules or particles in a mixture, referring to either molecular mass or degree of polymerization and is represented by the symbol D with a crossbar [ Đ] similar to my logo above.
Many, many years ago, mid-1970-ish, I decided to design myself a logo for freelancing based upon my initials: D E T. I used the typeface “Optima,” in my opinion, the most beautiful modern typeface. The logo design I decided upon is shown above. Much later in life, I discovered that, by a fortuitous coincidence, my logo is very similar if not identical to a symbol used in chemistry, the meaning of which is consistent with the essence of my own spiritual understandings of existence.
Each of us is the protagonist of our own mythology. As our individual odysseys unfold, most people attempt to contribute to the Greater Good according to their own nature. It is my nature to be an abstract expressionist artist. In the course of my odyssey, I have explored my spiritual connection with the essence of existence.
Why do I create artworks? I HAVE to, it’s fundamental to my nature. It has always been my intuition that a person’s astrological natal chart reveals a template for their potential future achievements in life. My own astrological natal chart [on “Notes of Interest” page] reveals to me that at my birth my future fate was cast as a “casebook” LIBRA with a certainty of becoming an artist.
I was born on October 14, 1943, at 3:24 am on a Thursday in Marietta, Georgia; but, when I was old enough to travel on a train, my mother moved my older sister and me back to Fort Worth, Texas, my parent’s hometown, where I grew up and spent most of my youth.
At the age of 4 years old, I knew I was an artist. Of course, I didn’t really know yet what an “artist” was then, but my intuition knew. I had a sense that my life’s purpose would be grounded in the pursuit of creating beautiful visual artworks. It is that pursuit in which my present paintings are grounded.
There were many positive influences throughout my years in Fort Worth that inspired and encouraged my development as an artist. Both of my parents had artistic talents, although neither of them pursued a vocation in the arts. My mother devoted her life to being a wife and mother. My father was an aerospace engineer, but he kept his artistic and scientific interests active as hobbies. He was especially interested in physics and astronomy.
When I was a toddler, my dad built his first 10-inch diameter reflector telescope. Often during my childhood, he would set up his telescope on a dark night and let my sister, brother and me look at the craters on the moon, or the “canals” on Mars, or the rings of Saturn and Jupiter’s “Spot.”
Once one evening when I was an adolescent, my dad performed a stunning physics demonstration that made a lasting impression upon my views about the universe. He constructed a “cloud chamber” out of ordinary kitchen utensils. After dark, the family gathered around his “cloud chamber” and turned off all the lights. In the darkness, my dad turned on a flashlight and shown the beam of light through the overturned glass jar he used for the chamber.
After a moment when my eyes adjusted to the dark, I was astonished to glimpse sporadic, faint, tiny vaporous trails dart through the dark interior of the jar and instantaneously vanish. Several times, vapor trails entered the chamber, then abruptly split into two vapor trails darting in acute, separate paths and vanish. Some vapor trails streaked through the dark chamber in spiraling trajectories before they vanished. The demonstration only lasted a few minutes until the chemical properties that helped create the phenomena deteriorated.
Even though the experience was once, very brief and so long ago, it impacted me deeply and ignited my own life-long interest in the science and imagery of particle physics and quantum mechanics. My dad’s “cloud chamber” experiment was concrete evidence for me of the unseen atomic structures on the microcosmic scale of the infinite universe interacting in constant flux within the world around us.
With his interest in the chemistry of artist’s media and materials, my dad would experiment with making his own watercolor paints, pastels and oil painting mediums. He used various ancient, medieval formulas he discovered in treatises of the “Old Masters.” Our house often reeked from the odors of some concoction boiling on the kitchen stove. Although he never effectively used his successful results, I still have and often use some of his creations from over sixty years ago in producing my paintings today.
With four years between myself and each of my siblings, I exhibited and still retain many of the symptoms of the “middle child” syndromes. My sister was older with many activities that demanded my mother’s time and attention; and my younger brother required the remaining time and energy she mustered. So, being alone most of the time, I kept myself company with lots of beautifully illustrated storybooks and many View-Master slide reels that were accompanied by 45 rpm records that told the stories represented in each slide disc. The artworks in my storybooks and View-Master reels were beautifully enchanting. They inspired my desire to want to be able to create artworks like them someday. I can clearly remember at the age of four years old that I knew I was an artist. Of course, back then, I didn’t really know yet what an “artist” was, but my intuition knew. I had a sense that my future would be dedicated to the pursuit of creating beautiful pictures.
My parents furnished our house with a diverse selection of interesting literature supported by their subscriptions to many periodicals. We routinely had the latest issues of LIFE, LOOK, Saturday Evening Post, Popular Sciences, Popular Mechanics, Better Homes and Gardens, and a National Geographic collection spanning many decades. There were encyclopedias, dictionaries, reference books, and classical literature from Homer and Shakespeare to Jack London and Melville, and the short stories of W. S. Maugham.
But mostly, I remember the large, “coffee table” photography books with biographies illustrating the works of art by famous masters from Botticelli and Rembrandt to Picasso and Magritte. Among the collection, every major period of art history was represented.
My father also had an obsessive/compulsive appreciation for classical music in his extensive collection of LP’s. He even built his own stereo system with enormous speakers that would rival an equivalent store-bought system costing thousands of dollars.
I spent many afternoons during my youth studying the artworks of famous artists while classical music played in the background. By the time I graduated from high school, it was second nature for me to whistle all of Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro.”
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve admired the artworks of many great artists. Of them all, the artist whose paintings most significantly influenced me was Jackson Pollock. When I was not yet 6 years old, I discovered an article in our family’s August 8, 1949, issue of LIFE Magazine with the catchy headline: “Jackson Pollock – Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?” The paintings reproduced in the article inspired me and made a lasting impression upon my young burgeoning creative spirit. Unfortunately, it would be many decades before I returned to painting fulltime and the influence of Pollock’s paintings and methods would be discernible in my own artworks with the passionate energy and force with immediacy of action reminiscent of the action-painting school of abstract expressionist artists of Pollock’s era.
The most important person to influence me towards becoming the artist I am today was my sister Joanna. She was four years older than me. When I was entering the ninth grade of junior high school in 1957, she began attending North Texas State College in Denton, Texas, majoring in English Literature.
My sister shared with me what she was studying in college. She introduced me to many works of literary masters such as Walt Whitman, W. B. Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, and Dylan Thomas. I explored a wide range of literary genre, philosophical thought, religious traditions, authors and artists related to the subjects she was studying. My serious intellectual education began that year through my sister.
North Texas State College was well known around the world for their award winning jazz band music represented by their One O’clock Lab Band which had several LP recordings to their credit. My sister was an enthusiastic fan of the Lab Band and knew many of their musicians personally. She owned all their recordings and would often play them at home whenever she came home for weekends. Listening to those jazz records opened up a whole new world of explorations into Jazz music and I began my own collection of jazz recordings from Errol Garner and Mose Allison, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus and Thelonious Monk, to name a few of my favorites.
As we grew older, my sister lovingly took me under her wing and included me in activities with her intellectual friends as if I was their contemporary and I also became one of their friends. It was quite a privilege for me to be included among their group of friends. They were the most exceptional group of intellectuals, an eclectic group even Gertrude Stein would have been pleased to know.
If we weren’t at an exclusively avant-garde cinema screening the latest films from Truffaut, Bergman, Fellini, Godard, Eric Rohmer or the like, we might be at a soiree, held at one of their houses, where, over wine and fondue, we would explore topics as diverse as New Wave French films, classical Italian opera, Japanese poetry, Nouveau Roman literature, especially Robbe-Grillet, or organic vegetarianism and Zen macrobiotics versus the American corporate food industry. We might discuss the merits of a recent art exhibit at one of the local museums or galleries. Perhaps we might play an esoteric guessing game called “Botticelli” while making homemade-hand-churned fresh fruit ice cream, and then choose teams for a very competitive game of lawn croquet. I loved my sister.
The eclectic gestalt of my extracurricular education was expanding exponentially as well, as each new book, painter, writer, jazz musician, film or philosophy I discovered revealed more equivalent artists and subjects I felt it necessary to investigate. For instance, I explored the life and writings of Gertrude Stein which in turn lead me to the many artists and writers who associated with her, which led me to discover the “Beat” poets and writers.
During the six years I attended junior and senior high schools, my ever increasing proficiency in drawing and my developing unique creativity attracted the attention of teachers and friends who encouraged me to continue pursuing an artistic career with my college studies.
In college, I reacquainted myself with the art and life of Jackson Pollock, who I had discovered as an impressionable child, and the other Abstract Expressionists of that period. I discovered the writing of Jack Kerouac and read his novel ON THE ROAD while I hitch hiked around the East Coast during the summer of 1963. With the “Beat” poets and writers whose lives and works had a significant connection with Eastern thought, I discovered Buddhism. I began reading and studying Buddhism and Zen. While rereading Alan Watt’s book THE WAY OF ZEN during the winter of 1963, I experienced my first satori. I have been an adherent of Buddhism ever since.
All the people, experiences, influences and inspirations that I’ve shared above have served as enlightening revelations into spiritual traditions which encompass an awareness of the love and compassion with which the infinite, eternal quantum cosmos is imbued. I strive to share and communicate these aspects of my life and personality in the subject matter of my paintings as I search for my visual language to reveal the essence of the microcosmic and the macrocosmic beauty of the universe. My knowing how the universe was aligned astrologically at the time of my birth and the resulting cosmic forces that influenced my life’s journey, has helped me to understand my life-long compulsion for passionately pursuing the creation of beauty for the loving, peaceful, compassionate benefit of the world.
In Christmas Humphreys’ book THE BUDDHIST WAY, the word “jijimuge,” a doctrine in the Japanese Kegon School of Buddhism, is defined as “the unimpeded interdiffusion of all particulars.” If my paintings reveal anything to viewers, I would want it to be an understanding of what “jijimuge” means in the universe around us.
I’ve enjoyed sharing this time with you. Please feel free to respond with your thoughts in the email reply page of my website. I would love to hear from you.