Dean Howell

Artist of the Month | May 2017


Dean Howell

“Never boring visiting the studio of artist Dean Howell. Dean is a passionate teacher and an artist who follows his instincts. The studio was packed with the creations of a very caring and creative mind…here…take a look inside!”

~ Ron Whitmore



Though not driven, or taken, to competitive/prestigious endeavors, Dean Howell, Ed. D, has impressive-enigmatic-credentials in a duel career as avant-garde artist and college professor. He has accumulated a fair share of achievements in spite of controversial points of view, bucking the odds, and sometimes, Bohemian lifestyle.

In 1972, he earned a Doctorate in Sculpture, Psychology, and Art Education-with a dissertation in “perception and brainwave activity”. At the height of his academic career in 1978-after publishing his first paper, Sensuality: The Undercover Struggle in the Making of Art, in the National Art Education Journal-he resigned his position at Virginia Commonwealth University, in favor of becoming a full-time, producing artist. Until now, he has vigorously explored the art world as artist, lecturer, and educator, at large… without an emphasis on writing.

After developing a controversial body of sculptures in Living Realism-a sculptural series of visceral, life-size nudes-his first visit to New York City netted four exhibitions, his first major sale, and a thorough induction into the New York art scene… where he exhibited with major, modern artists, Warhol, Neel, Estes, Max, and Thiebaud-among others.

Concurrently with exhibition schedules, he has served as Artist In Residence/Guest Lecturer at colleges and universities throughout the country, and conducted sessions on the current topics at National and State, Art Education Association annual conventions.

He wrote, produced and directed an Off-Off Broadway play titled, Haiderzad: An Inspiring True Drama About the Preservation of the Artistic Spirit, which was selected-in video format-for the educational archives at the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts.

At the time of his resignation from full-time teaching at the university level in 1978, artist, Dean Howell, had just begun to publish academic papers, and creative stories dramatizing the nature of art & the human spirit. His topics, titles, and writing style had a blistering affect on his collogues & students-as well as traditional thinking in Arts Education throughout the country. With titles like, “Sensuality: The Undercover Struggle in the Making of Art”, “The Still Life of Normality”, and “Love in the Twentieth Century,” his papers paved the way for innovative curriculum and non-traditional forms of Arts Education at major art schools around the country.

As an avant-garde artist working and showing in New York City in the early to mid eighties, he wrote, produced & directed an OFF-OFF BROADWAY PLAY with the title, “HAIDERZAD: The Preservation of the Artistic Spirit”…based on a true story of an Afghan artist’s will to survive after the 1980, Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The video version was chosen by the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts-Educational Archives-for its unusual form and content.



In 1992, American artist Dean Howell moved his studio to Santa Fe, after working twelve years in New York City. A passionate and natural sculptor, he is also uncommonly versatile and talented across the media board. Clay, wood, steel, bronze, resins, oils, and acrylics lend themselves, intricately, to his sensitivites and creative control. While in New York, he wrote, produced, and directed an Off-Off Broadway play about “the artistic spirit”, and developed a large body of work he aptly calls “Living Realism” – given the live, visceral response the work provokes. Known in the east for his large-scale, resin heads (8-10 feet high), and huge, graphite drawings, Howell’s point of view, and visual dynamic differs drastically from the traditional Southwest imagery…though much of his work does focus on ethnic themes, including the American Indian (Howell, himself, is one-eighth Blackfeet). Over the years, three major themes have evolved: Living Realism, an uncanny emphasis on visual and psychological realism; mixed media forms called “TIME MARKERS” -a series of sculptures marking significant changes in the human condition throughout the world; a mixed media, Assimilation Series, which expresses Howell’s interpretation of the affects of being assimilated. Most recently, these themes have merged-alternating between avant-garde, social statements, and traditional imagery…all with his stamp of passion and power of execution. The essence of his work is connected in purpose and feeling-whether flat or three-dimensional, big or little, paper or bronze, old or new. He follows his own sensibilities-avoiding lifetime styles.

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