Dick Brown has a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology and co-owns Apex Counseling Center, LLC in Baltimore. He was taught ceramics by Marcus Duyon (Jackson State University), has had extensive formal training from Charlie Boren (Texas) in wood carving and learned the art of bronze casting at Prince George's Community College (Maryland). Brown is self taught as a painter, stained glass, and mosaic artist. He sees himself as an "outsider/visionary" artist due to his lack of art school training, uncensored creativity and compulsive need to "make art." At times his work has been controversial (and censored) because of the religious nature of certain pieces. Brown stays engaged with art by using a variety of mediums. Besides painting with oils, watercolors, shoe polish, and acrylics, he has used colored and graphite pencils, pen and ink, and pastels and charcoal. He has made styrofoam, linoleum and wood block prints, collages, photographs, and multi media sculptures. He also mixes mediums. For example, his publically commissioned sculpture, "Bluebird of Happiness" (re-named by Rebecca Hoffberger - original title was "Outsider Bluebird") is part of the permanent collection of the American Vision Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore. The bluebird was partially covered with mosaics and then painted. The sculpture was chosen from AVAM's permanent collection to be part of Bergdorf's (NYC) showroom 2009 holiday window display. The bluebird is also pictured in the coffee table book OUTDOOR SCULPTURE IN BALTIMORE by Cindy Kelly.
Brown, on April 17, 2017, completed the first paintsaic, an original art form called "Paintsaics," a term coined by his youngest daughter, Caroline, also a mosaic artist. He has another daughter (Kristin) who lives in Texas. Felicia Zannino-Baker calls the paintsaics "Fragmented Canvases." Brown creates a paintsaic by cutting up (disassembling) certain original works he painted at least 25 years earlier and reassembles the pieces into a unified whole. He cuts at least 5 or 6 canvases into pieces like those in an unassembled puzzle and glues each piece to a concrete backer board.
He created another original art form using Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) cards as canvases. He embellished the TAT cards he used while performing
psychological assessments of hospitalized psychiatric patients. Brown took the TAT cards and added his own inner projections to the cards (see the "Mystery Cards" gallery) using various mediums including drawing, collage, stamping, and painting. Talk about projection...The resulting work is not for sale due to copyright laws.
Brown recently asked his grandaughter what artist inspired her and she replied, "You." Carly then asked him who was he inspired by and he said, "Picasso." Her response was, "Everyone is inspired by Picasso." Pretty cool response from an 8 year old! Brown rails against attempts to teach creativity because the teaching stifles and interferes with the drive to create. Education about materials and techniques are important but information that attempts to impart to an artist what constitutes "good art" impedes the creative process. Artists can not be taught creativity and originality: they either have it or they don't. Brown describes his body of work as MODERN RELIGIOUS NEOIMPRESSIONISM. Modern because we are in the 21st century; religious because much of the work has both overt and veiled references to spirituality (religion); and neoimpressionism because it is new and modified.
"I create art because I have to, much like the bird flies because it has to. My
starting point is acknowledging and yielding to the internal impulse demanding attention, like a two year old screaming for id satisfaction NOW. The motivation to create also comes from other places: seeing a stimulating art show, visiting AVAM or another museum (or gallery), or discovering my next project. Motivation sometimes arises from strong emotions. Freud said that conflict fuels the passion. I think conflict also fuels creativity. Perhaps this is why so many well-known and unknown artists are tormented/conflicted. Finally, motivation may emerge from discovering a new way of artistic expression. During the act of creating I am solidly in the present. C.S. Lewis said that our only link to eternity is the present moment. Thus, by being here now, temporal pathways to eternity appear. In the same way that someone living in the past can become riddled with anxieties, when one is in the present, awareness becomes heightened and the artwork cries out to be ever more deeply engaged. The viewer of the art must quieten the inner chatter to experience the completed work. Intentional focus on the here/now opens the possibility to experience the fullness of the art's being. The more in the present I am during the creation of the work, and the more the viewer is in the present while looking at the work, the more illuminated the work becomes. The art is not so much looked at, but becomes the one doing the looking. If the viewer can let the ego go and relinquish control to the art, he/she can be enchanted. My work has faceted layers that can only be seen if the piece senses an openness and curiosity from the viewer. But it takes much more than a glance...
The bottom line: my creativity comes from being open and responding to the inner compulsion to create. The ensuing trance like focus resembles an out of body experience allowing the work to transcend the artist. I relate to the outsider who said, "I can't believe I done that."