Dimitri Grachis, Artist, Geometer and Philosopher

Dimitri Grachis, artist, beat artist, San Francisco, geometric art,

Dimitri Grachis February 2012

I was born in 1932 on the north side of Chicago. I was given the first name of my grandfather and the middle name of my father. I was born into a long line of creative people. My father, George Dimitrios Grachis was a professional violinist and began to play professionally at the age of eight, he wrote Greek folk music, and was a string instrument maker. He got his talent from his father Dimitrios George Grachis who was a natural genius and a master violinmaker. My grandfather always claimed that we have genius in our blood that goes back to the classic period of Greek history. I had two sisters, Helen is the oldest and Mary the youngest.

MY EDUCTION IN CHICAGO

As for my education, I was caught between two worlds. Although my sisters where good students, I was not. I found that I could not grasp the curriculum; the subject that was the hardest for me was English, and without reading and writing, I had no access to the other subjects. I began at an early age to depend on my visual perceptions to guide me. At the age of sixty I finally learn that I had dyslexia.

For those that do not know about Dyslexia it is a personal nonverbal adaptation to thinking that some individuals evolve into at an early age as a reaction to the feeling of confusion. Up to now, a dyslexic was believed to have brain or nerve damage that resulted in slow thinking and a wandering mind (daydreaming). We now believed that just the opposite is true: A dyslexic is a fast thinker that finds verbal images too slow, and adapts to using visual images and all the senses to conceptualize ideas and thoughts. A dyslexic can think in many dimensions using many ideas simultaneously. Some dyslexic thinkers were Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Woodrow Wilson, Leonardo Da Vinci, Walt Disney and Winston Churchill. (1)

Although I have Dyslexia, it was such an integrated part of my thinking that I was not aware of it. It wasn’t until I was 60 years old that I learned that I had a unique gift and could think on subliminal and multidimensional levels at fast speeds. In my case (every form of Dyslexia is a personal adaptation) I have a nonverbal picture image awareness of fundamental functions and structures, which allows me to image, vary fast and in many dimensions: I can think simultaneously with many, thoughts, ideas in many dimensions. Ideas and thoughts evolve so fast they appear simultaneously as intuition.

According To Ronald Davis, a leading authority on dyslexia, “a picture thinker could think a single picture of concept that might require hundreds or thousands of words to describe… verbal picture thinking is nonlinear and much faster, and is capable of conceptualizing with mental pictures using all the senses and dimensions. A nonverbal thinker can have from six to ten times as many thoughts per second as the verbal thinker. Nonverbal thinking can reach the limits of visualization, about 32 picture images per second, and into the subliminal range, 36 images per second. Nonverbal thought is instantaneous and evolutionary: The image grows as the thought adds more concepts. The dyslexic mind can work between 400 hundred to 2,000 times faster than the verbal mind: Non verbal thought is so fast that thinkers can create or respond to subliminal ideas as intuition.”(1)

Although I have the many tools for creativity that some dyslexics have, I was incapable of grasping the education that I needed to establish a successful financial base. And as I think of it today, I had no senses of financial responsibility and was always on the edge of the monetary abyss. I gave up pursuing a successful financial base for a creativity outlook. I became an artist because I thought in visually terms and have the natural ability to think and create in many dimensions.

CALIFORNIA

After the Second World War (1947) my father decided that it was time to make a big move to California. In 1947, we moved to San Mateo, California, and I started at the San Mateo High School. My learning was still not up to standards and in 1949; I joined, to my father’s approval (my father didn’t know what to make of me) I joined the U.S. Navy and qualified for radar school: As a Radar man, I learned thing that would later be of importance to my development. The Radar operates job at sea was to keep track of all relative position and distance of ships in our area. I learned many relative ship problems such as how to position the ships during course changes, find the course and speed of an approaching ship or plane with just distance or speed. I got good at it, as my dyslexia was helpful in these situations. I liked the navy; it gave me the confidence knowing that I could think fast under many situations.

I was discharged from the Navy in 1953, and as a matter of chance, I used my GI Bill to enroll at the old California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. As it turned out the California School of Fine Arts in the mid-fifties was one of the most advanced art schools in the country. The director was Ernest Mundt. Dr. Mundt was from Germany and had taught at the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus (1919-1934) was an advanced art school, and was known for its pursuit of the simplicity and beauty of form. Its motto was “form and function”. Many important artists, designers and architects, taught there, which included Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Oskar Schlemmer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Ernest Mundt.

I spent three years in art school and learned how to use my visual and dyslexic attributes to see, create and conceive visual perception as composition and abstract ideas. It was during my years at the old California School of Fine Arts that I discovered the thing that would dominate the rest of my life, that being; the geometric axiom that lines will meet, and or, cross. From the 1950’s till today, the two geometric axioms are a source of continued enlightenment.

GEOMTRY AND ART

I started art school in 1954, and was from the start attracted to geometric art. At the time, the freewheeling approach of abstract expressionism was all the rage and most artists were doing it. I did not like abstract expressionism, to me it lacked discipline. Looking for discipline in art I gravitated to geometric art. There was no California artist working with geometry, although there was some geometric art being done in Europe and New York, there were none in California, and I became the first! I was the first in California.

My first introduction to art as geometric simplicity was in the art of the British artist Ben Nicholson, I like his simple linear landscapes and still-life, and how he defined space. After Ben Nicholson, I evolved to the art and writings of the Dutch geometric purest group de Stijl. De Stijl is an early twentieth century (1917) Dutch purest movement that committed their goals to the abstraction of art to the purest most fundamental geometric structures. Founded in Holland in 1917 by painters Theo van Doesburgh and Piet Mondrian, de Stijl was composed of painters, sculptors, designers, and architects. As a group, they pooled and disseminated their ideas through their periodical also called “De Stijl” (1917-1932). They believed that by pooling their ideas “they will serve a general principle far beyond the limitations of individuality.” They developed as axioms the horizontal and vertical lines and the three primary colors of pigment red, yellow and blue, and the “non colors” black, white and all the grays, from which they believed all forms developed. As a group, they hope to find the true nature of reality as a new universal language. De Stijl introduced me to the universal potential of geometric art.

The most important artist to emerge from de Stijl is Piet Mondrian. Mondrian became the leading exponent of de Stijl’s goals long after the group had dissolved. Today, Mondrian is considers one of the most important artists of the twentieth century and the abstract principles of De Stijl have influenced every aspects of our modern society. As this book gives witness, my extension of de Stijl’s ideas has lead into a broad legacies of art and geometry that extended to the vary beginnings of modern humans.

AFTER ART SCHOOL

In 1957 my G.I. bill ran out and I opened a small art gallery in San Francisco for younger S. F. artist. There was a lot of interest in the gallery, and, some of the young artists I showed went on to great careers. I believe that I could have become a successful art dealer. However, the visual aspects of art had become an important part of my life, and I decided that the in and outs of the art world were not for me: There were too many geometric questions that my art opened that were to compelling to leave, questions that had importance to a young geometric artist.

In 1961 I left San Francisco and the art world and moved back to San Mateo to pursue my own ideas about geometry and art. With a compelling senses of wonder about my visual discover that lines meet, and, or, cross, I began to looking outside of art for answers to pursue the circumstances of my visual discoveries. I began to visit the library and the most important source for my research was the Encyclopedia Britannica 1952 edition, and it’s Syntopicon. (*)


(*) The Encyclopedia Britannica and the Syntopicon were so important to me that I bought the whole edition. The Syntopicon introduced THE GREAT IDEAS OF WESTERN MAN; with a cross reference, so that you could read what the most important thinkers had to say about great ideas, such as time, infinite, knowledge… To this day the Syntopicon is still the best and most compacted reference book on the foundations of knowledge that there is!


In going through my wandering search in the Encyclopedia Britannica I was attracted to the article on relativity. The article made no senses to me. However, at the end of the article there was a note referring to a section on the unified field? The article explained that in order to unify the two fundamental forces of the universe a qualifying geometry was necessary. The writer went on to explain that the geometry for unification would have to be simple and not all ballad up and confusing. I thought of twentieth century art, abstract expressionism and my art education, and my geometric discoveries! Then it hit me, he was explain my geometric ideas!

The idea of a unified field appealed to me, and I read everything I could on the subject. I found that in the 1950s younger physicists had abounded the unified field for the idea that they could predicting structural events by smashing particles and analyzing the results. The most important physicists of the day such as Einstein, Ewrin Schrodinger and Werner Heisenberg did not believe in particles, they believing that the aspect of the particle would lead to uncertainties and they did not support it.

My decision to pursue art as geometry and knowledge has resulted in a strong body of new knowledge. Some of which are presented on this web site.

Dimitri Grachis
San Mateo, CA.
August 13, 2012