Deran Wright: 35 Year Retrospective

Deran Wright:

35 Year Retrospective

June 6 - 28, 2014

The Beginning...

Once there was a kid in school who drew pictures all the time...

Imagine the kid in the back row at school, farthest from the teacher, (last name starting with “W”) spending all his time sketching and drawing pictures. Twelve years of self-trained drawing instruction, that was me. Kids in school today no longer sit in rows, but in 'pods' where the teacher can see them better... will this mean no more artists? Who knows?

During a family vacation in New Mexico, my parents ran into a well-known western sculptor/painter, and asked him to look at my work (the sketchpad was never far away). Their question was, should they sign me up for art lessons? His reply was “Certainly not. This kid sees 3 dimensionally, you can tell from his drawings, and at this point art lessons could only do more harm than good.” He gave me a rectangular box, and said, “Here kid. You’ll need this someday.” The box contained a strange wooden utensil, and was mostly full of some very mysterious dark material. My first sculpture tool and a block of wax. It went under the bed for the next 7 years.

When I got out of school, I approached some local galleries with my ink drawings. The owners were very nice, but said these were not ‘Fine Art’, but merely illustrations. I should consider working in the commercial art field. Suitably chastened, I embarked on a mercifully short career as a commercial illustrator. The highlights were a very nice personal letter from Marvel Comics, and an invitation from a well-known commercial artist to move to New York, where he predicted I would do very well.

The only problem was, I absolutely hated it.

So, while mulling over my options for a career in the ‘Arts’, my parents took me along on another family vacation, to Padre Island, Texas. While sitting around on the beach, I decided to make a sand castle. The sand was just right, and the castle became a sculpture of a girl. Not a very good one, but good enough at the time. Suddenly a crowd gathered, the local newspapers came, I was the center of attention, and a light somewhere in my brain lit up. Time to drag that box out from under the bed. It contained a sculpture tool, and a block of Victory Brown professional sculptor’s wax. That was over 30 years ago, when I was 17, and it has been a very strange and interesting journey from that day to this. I have enjoyed every minute.

I still draw, and today my work is considered 'fine art'. - Deran Wright