I am both a trained and untrained artist. I am a self-taught painter and mosaic artist but have had formal college classes in bronze sculpting and have had extensive, personal one on one work with a prominent Southwestern wood sculptor (Charlie Boren of Fort Worth, Texas). I am also self-taught in stained glass art, but have had college classes in pottery and design taught by the late Marcus Douyan, a Haitian potter who taught art at Jackson State University. I am strongly influenced by the art of Picasso (who isn’t?), Chagall, David Smith, Henry Moore, Diane Arbus, and am blown away by the simplicity of Miro’s use of color. If my art was music it would be hard to categorize – I would call it alt country because that’s where I put music that is hard to label. Nonetheless, I refer to my work as MODERN RELIGIOUS NEOIMPRESSIONISM. MODERN because we are in the 21st century, RELIGIOUS because there is a recurring theme of religiosity in my work (see “Godzma/Rebels of the Sacred Heart”), and NEOIMPRESSIONISM because the work follows the period of impressionism. 

People ask what my work means. I have no conscious message to communicate through my work. I have a a compulsion to create . The need arises from the same process that gives rise to dreams, referred to by Sigmund Freud as “ the road to the unconscious.” If one can explain the unconscious meaning of dreams, then one is probably a skilled psychoanalyst or a dynamically oriented psychotherapist. So, if there is meaning to compulsively created art, the art must be seen as arising from a place where the unconscious is compelled to simultaneously reveal and protect. It must reveal because that is it’s mandate, and must protect because if your unconscious were thrust into your consciousness, you would dissolve into primary process material (or, in layman’s terms you would go insane). However, great personal growth can occur when “the unconscious becomes conscious” by being understood and properly interpreted. The language of the unconscious is symbolic and not easily understood, and must be interpreted. The creative process is almost otherworldly (“Good novels write themselves”) and it is a common experience for untrained, outsider artist’s to look at something they have done and remark that they can’t believe they actually did that. It is as though the work was created when the artist was in a trance. That is what I mean when I say “a compulsion to create.” The work creates itself and knows more about the artist than the artist knows about himself or herself. 

The starting point of a piece of my art is the internal motivation I feel prior to creating the work. The motivation comes from at least three sources. The first is the inspiration that arises from viewing and experiencing the artwork of another artist or series of artist’s displayed at an exhibition. When I get stuck creatively, I visit a museum or gallery to hopefully become inspired by the work of other artists. Their work obviously has to inspire me, but when I see the right kind of work I become motivated to create. My motivation also arises from my own strong emotions. Freud said that conflict fuels passion. Although he was referring to sex (passion) as the end game when couples fight, the creative process is similar: emotions have to be expressed, and my internal life (conflict) fuels the creativity. Perhaps that is why so many great and not so great artists are tormented. The torment is the passion that fuels the passion. The third motivation arises when I discover a new way of expressing myself through previously under-utilized discovered mediums. I refer to mediums that I personally have underutilized or not used. For example, I did a lot of painting and a lot of mosaics but I had never combined the two. When I decided to combine glass and paint I became compulsively motivated to create. The BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS at the American Visionary Art Museum is an example of combining two mediums.




Dick Brown's "Bluebird of Happiness" sculpture is perched outside of AVAM.
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Dick Brown adorned his "Bluebird of Happiness" with mirror fragments.
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