The artist Burton Dickerson stands with his arms leaning on one of his large framed abstract expressionist paintings, with a painted self-portrait hanging on the wall behind him.
Dickerson in the 1960s

Burton Dickerson (1925-2022) was born in Detroit, Michigan. He received an Master of Arts (MA) degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1963. Throughout his career, Dickerson explored abstraction through large, color-rich paintings on canvas. His paintings were collected by important corporate collectors in the Midwest, such as Nathan Cummings, and he was represented by regional galleries including the Gertrude Kasle Gallery and the Lee Hoffman Gallery.

From the 1980’s on, Dickerson split his time between Michigan and Los Angeles, where he experimented with animated film, including the work Blinded by Glare, which was shown on MTV in 1984. Starting in the 1990’s Dickerson also began experimenting with digital mixed media methods. Often working out of his sons’ Los Angeles recording studio, Burton Dickerson crossed paths with LA-based bands and artists. The punk band X featured his drawings during their 1992 performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Dickerson later created another animated music video for the enigmatic guitarist, Buckethead. In Los Angeles, his work was sought out by musicians and underground creatives. Collectors include D.J. Bonebrake (X) and the actor Viggo Mortensen.

Over four decades, Dickerson established a distinct visual language and an intense style; however, until recently his work has remained outside of mainstream attention. He turned down teaching positions at both New York University and the University of California, and notoriously destroyed many of his own pieces later in life. His surviving body of work is a remarkable example of a high modern aesthetic infused with loud, musical, punk-like energies and includes paintings, drawings, paper cut outs, digital media, and film.