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Dick Hogle’s ongoing Biographical narrative. Which will be updated from time to time or in the advent of a special event.
When I was in high school I was interested in music and art and participated in both. I received a scholarship to study art in New Paltz at New York State University, New Paltz. I majored in art and formed a musical quartet. After three years at New Paltz, I had to take a break while I served in the US Navy. In the Navy, I formed a band on the ship I was on, a Destroyer. When that ship got back from its Mediterranean cruise I was posted to the Art Department on ComDeslant Admirals staff (Admiral Weakly) in Newport Rhode Island. After the Navy, I went back to school in New Paltz and graduated the following year.
That was the year that GE introduced the flashing Christmas tree lights. I noticed the colored projected patterns they produced on the white wall behind the Christmas tree. These sharp-edged patterns were the result of the small filaments in these light bulbs, they worked like a pin hole camera in reverse.
I began experimenting with point source colored flashing lights projecting patterns on a screen. Years earlier, as a high school student, I had taken a field trip to NYC to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon exiting the museum we passed through the gift shop and right at the exit was what looked like a television but was playing amorphous colored patterns without repeating itself. I was mesmerized. Today’s computer screen savers echo this. The piece was by an artist named Thomas Wilfred and it changed my life. Ever since then I have been fascinated with flashing/blinking colored lights and I have designed and built kinetic art light sculptures.
The first time I exhibited my art work to the general public was at Finch College Museum of Art Contemporary Study Wing. This show was a collaboration between myself and Adrian Guillery. He and I were college roommates and played in the same band. When Adrian and I were setting up our show the director for the museum, Elaine Varian asked me if my father was Pliny Arnold Hogle. I responded that he was and Elaine told me” I used to baby sit you in Fort Bragg, North Carolina when you were 4 and 5 years old”. It is indeed a small world. I was 24 years old when Adrian and I exhibited our work at Finch. Thomas Hoving, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, having seen our work at a loft in New York where we were showcasing our art, arranged for a show at Finch College.
During this time, I went to the Filmore East in NYC and saw the Light Show put on by Joshua White and it changed my life, a second time. I went home and began experimenting with overhead projectors, liquids and 35mm slides. I started making my own slides using transparent colored lacquers with hand painted abstract graphic patterns, and moiré patterns. I painted nude models using a flexible “day glow “poster paint. I developed flexibility in the paint using glycerine. When applied to a body, the paint wouldn’t crack off when the models moved. I lit the painted nudes with “black light” and then photographed the “glowing” bodies. Today I have thousands of original slides. I developed a multimedia light show consisting of overhead projectors and 35 mm slide projectors.
While perfecting my technique. I presented “Lightshows” in my studio in New Paltz. I didn’t know at the time how Joshua was manipulating the water, oils and glycerin. aniline dyes colored the oils, food coloring colored the water and glycerin. I could not find a clear bowl or dish that did not have Pyrex or something else on the bottom, so I made my own. Since the projection area on an overhead projector is square, I made square trays to fit the projection area. I made clear Lucite trays with raised sides with drilled holes in two sides opposite each other into which I inserted rigid tubing sections. I attached pliable tubing to the rigid tubing. At the end of the two pliable tubes I connected an air mattress foot pump and from the foot pump a pliable tube went into a gallon jug of water. This allowed me to add clear water to the tray when the existing liquids in the tray coalesced, and are evacuated through the tubes going into empty gallon jugs. I attached hemostat type clips to these tubes so they could be closed off until needed. I had discovered that with plain trays (no tubes) that the image I was projecting got muddy before the Pink Floyd Album I was practicing to was over. Being able to clear the old liquid out and put in the new clear liquid worked well.
Years later I found out that Joshua used “clock crystals” the curved clear glass cover for large clocks, a smaller one nestled in to a larger on with the oil and water between them.
While developing my own liquid projectors I experimented with making liquid 35mm slides. I came across slide glass which was just a little smaller size than Kodak slide glass. Three pieces of slide glass sandwiched together will work in a Kodak Carousel Projector and fit in an 80 count slide tray. I put a silicone strip on one side of a standard glass slide sandwiched with the smaller glass slides as a spacer, along with the third piece of glass slide. When the glass had silicone on three sides I would remove the spacer glass and place a silicone bead on the fourth side. I would leave a very small entry hole, into which I injected the oil and water with a syringe and then filled the opening with silicone and mounted the liquid slide in a metal slide mount.
At my studio in New Paltz, during a lightshow presentation with live music, one of the viewers came forward and told me that he was involved in a theatrical commune comprised of some of the original cast members of “Hair” and they were rehearsing in Miami, Florida. I received an offer to go to Miami and use my light show experience with this communal theater group called “Mushroom”.
This theater piece was written by John Ammons, original cast member of Hair on Broadway. This theater commune was comprised of some of the original cast members of “Hair”, and they had a script and a cast and a band, and they were rehearsing in Miami, FL. The show was performed in the round with a live band inside a translucent vinyl inflatable dome 40’ diameter, 30’ high at the apex. Projections were done on the outside of the dome. Five 16 mm film projectors with film by Judd and Judy Yalcut, my contribution was 1 overhead projector and twelve 35mm slide projectors. The audience sat on pillows around three quarters of the dome floor, the last quarter being reserved for the band and my light show. It was theater in the round with the performers performing in the center area and into the audience.
When Mushroom folded after three months, I pursued using colored light to paint dancers and music performances as an art form, along with pyrotechnics and colored flares.
While in Miami I sleeved nine 6’ florescent tubes with three sleeved in red, three in green and three in blue gels. These fluorescents were sound responsive, I put these fluorescents vertically in a Christmas Tree for an exhibit of Christmas Trees at the Lowe Art Museum. I also lit Oscar de la Renta’s spring fashions premier at the Lowe Art Museum “An Evening for The Senses” January 25th, 1974. Attending were Oscar de la Renta and Francoise de la Renta. The Lowe Museum Director had told me that they were going to have a new building built by one of their benefactors, and they said that the building's girder skeleton would be up by the time the gala came around and they wanted the fashion models to pose on the girders while fireworks went off in the sky behind the models. They asked me if I could light it and do the fireworks as well. I said of course even though I had never worked with fireworks before. This was on July 1st, on the next day I went to the Orange bowl in Miami where the July 4th show would be and approached the people putting on the show. I explained why I was there, to learn about fireworks. The owner of the company, George Zambelli, was there and asked me what was I doing for the next couple of days and I replied "nothing". Mr. Zambelli ( Zambelli Fireworks company is the largest in the US ) then offered me work and instructions. My first "shoot" was from a 10' by 40' barge off of Miami Beach. The barge is towed by a tug boat, on a very long cable. The Lowe museum benefactor turned out to be Meyer Lansky of the Mafia, who was busted and deported, thereby killing the building project. That meant no fireworks this time but now I was working for Zambelli Fireworks.
Previous to this de la Renta Gala Event, I coordinated, staged, and lit a nonprofit event for the Lowe Art Museum in Miami in a circus tent. It was a “Happening”, utilizing theatrical lighting, rear screen projections, “go-go” dancers, costumed improv performers, streakers, bubbles, smoke, and strobes. I had one improv group of four dressed as construction workers, all the Gala attendees were seated at round tables seating 10 guests. The construction workers would walk up to a table and without a word (none of the improv artist’s spoke with or to the attendee’s, only each other), enclosed the table in construction saw horses and then left, most attendee’s never left their tables when this happened, after 5 or 10 minutes the “construction workers” would return, remove the barricades, and gravitate to another table. This was December 8th, 1973 .
The Miami Ballet Society officers were at this Gala and hired me to “light” their Gala, which took place at the Fountainbleu Hotel on Miami Beach. I erected a 10’ by 10’ by 10’ platform in the center of the ballroom and projected a 360-degree light show on white stretch fabric, a wonderful projection surface, and the walls. Red and blue cove lighting helped me to establish an ambient light which I coordinated with my light show. Much later the new owners of the Fountainbleu Hotel contacted me, (now the Fountainbleu-Hilton) to light a private party for 3,000 invited guests to a party for Super Bowl XIII which was In Miami that year. I simply re-cycled the Ballet Society presentation.
I moved to Santa Fe New Mexico in 1979. In Santa Fe, I created “Play me a Rainbow”, six florescent tubes each one of the six colors in a rainbow, connected to a 6 key, key board. The florescents float in space hung by mono filament line and are played with the keyboard. I also created an outline image of a Diamond back rattle snake on an eighteen foot long by a foot and a half high wooden frame mounted at average eye height on 8’ high 2”x4” uprights. The outline of the Diamond back rattle snake was delineated by double pointed finishing nails stuck in the wooden frame. Small (large soda straw diameter), 3” long green and gold burning phosphorous “lances” which are then fused together so that the fuse contacts the end of each lance. When the lit fuse reaches the “lances” they ignite. The fuse burns faster than the eye can follow it. I also created a flaming dreidel for a friend at Hanukah. I always fuse my “set pieces” in a random fashion, this way the spectator has no idea of the subject of the “set piece”. When the burning image is revealed it is always a nice surprise for the spectators. These images are a lot like “connect the dots” and in this case your eyes connect the dots. I also staged an aerial fireworks show that evening.
In Belen, New Mexico, my son and I were setting up fireworks for a July 4th celebration in a vacant lot "down town" Belen. My son was digging the trench for the mortars when he called me over. He had uncovered a skeleton. Now we were a crime scene and we had just started our set up. We start early in the morning and work right on through the day into the evening, some times close to the start of the show. By uncovering the skeleton we had to notify the police. When they arrived and established the "crime scene" we were told to stand down and move away from the trench. After about an hour of research they determined that the empty lot was at one time a cemetery, the church was long gone. We were then allowed to continue, we reburied the skeleton and then dug a new trench and this time no skeletons.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico I met an elderly gentleman named Dr. J. Scherer who practiced color therapy healing. Dr. Scherer’s mother also practiced color therapy healing in the 1920’s, as taught by Dinshah P. Ghadiali. Dr. Scherer’s mother used colored stained-glass paddles which she held over the part of the body needing healing. She used sunlight as the light source and used the Dinshah identified colors needed for correcting the different ailments in the body. Dr. Scherer contacted me in Santa Fe in 1982 to put together theater lighting colored gels to match Dinshah’s colors and a quartz illumination source which would mimic the sunlight (5500 Kelvin). After much research Dr. Scherer and I chose the appropriate colors of Roscolene gel. Some colors by themselves and some in combination achieve the finals results that best mimic Dinshah’s colors. Today you can go online and google Dinshah and color therapy, and find those colors and how to purchase them.
February 5th 2007, I was operated on for a begnine 7cm tumor on the right frontal lobe of my brain. I obviously survived the operation. Learning how to dress myself and walk again took more than a month of therapy. It took even longer before I could play a drum set and a couple of years to learn how to read drum music again. You realize at some point after your recovery that you are not the same person you were before the surgery. The nuero surgeon told me that it might take a while for some memories to come back and some he said would never come back along with some motor skills. Frustrated at not being able to play a drum set as well as I did before the operation, I opted to put my set away. Music has always been a very large part of my creative drive and rather than give music up totally, I joined the percussion section of the “Santa Fe Concert Band”. One of the oldest concert bands in the United States. When this first band was formed in the territory of New Mexico, it was right after the civil war. There was a civil war battle at Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. The confederate forces lost that battle and went back to Texas. The confederate bugler liked New Mexico better than Texas and returned to Santa Fe and started the “Santa Fe Concert Band”.
I coordinated with the National Democratic Committee and local state Democratic chairman for all of candidates John Kerry’s and John Edwards public appearances in the state of NM, setting up staging, seating, light and sound equipment and crowd control barriers in Santa Fe. John Kerry stayed in Santa Fe and rehearsed for one week for his debate in Phoenix AZ with George Bush. For this rehearsal we built an exact replica of the Phoenix debate facility at the Inn of Loretto main ball room in Santa Fe, so that Kerry would be able to practice for his debate and be comfortable with the surroundings in Phoenix. I got to hang out with and get to know John Kerry a little that week and I was very impressed with him.
When Presidential candidate Barack Obama and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden stumped for election in NM in 2008, we handled all the technical aspects of their campaign appearances in NM as we had for Kerry four years earlier. In 2012, we once again provided equipment and personnel for President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election and also met and provided equipment and personnel for Michelle Obama’s appearance on behalf of her husband in Las Vegas, NM.
Zuleika is a well-known Dance Story Teller that I have collaborated with for years. Her Rumi Concerts consist of Zuleika, Coleman Barks and some acoustic melody instrument(s) and an acoustic rhythm instrument. She performs as Coleman Barks reads his translation of Rumi poems and stories and the musicians interpret the spoken work with music. Zuleika interprets through Dance and I interpret with colored lighting.
Zeulika trained with Anna Halprin of the San Francisco Dancers Workshop, and studied “Kathak” – a classical story telling dance form from North Pakistan and Afghanistan – with Master Chitresh Das at the Ali Akbar College of Music.
The finale is always Zuleika alone in a beautiful layered white silk gown twirling as a Sufi dancer and I paint her in all the colors of the rainbow.
We did one of these concerts in St John the Devine Cathedral in NYC and she danced on a raised circular platform just forward of the alter. There is no music or poetry when she twirls, just her. She goes into an altered state and twirls and twirls, changing direction as well. When the performance was over quite a few of the audience wanted to know how we made her levitate.This facility is so large it has its own weather system independent of the weather outside the cathedral.
Zeulika is also the founder and director of the Storydancer Project, a non-profit organization Serving girls, women, children and families facing challenging life circumstances.
While I was living in Miami, I auditioned for and was entered into the University of Miami’s School of Music. At the audition they placed the incoming freshman in one of four 18 piece jazz big bands Concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, NM.