Though not driven, or taken, to competitive/prestigious endeavors, Dean Howell, Ed. D, has impressive, enigmatic, credentials in a varied career as avant–garde artist, college professor, and now, writer and director. 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 from the Art Education Department 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 those topics at National and State, Art Education Association annual conventions.
While in New York, 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: Lincoln Center of Performing Arts.
Howell has designed and implemented innovative programs of art, in major art institutions throughout his career — including Virginia Commonwealth University, the Dayton Art Institute, and Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Currently living in Santa Fe, he has spent the last sixteen years writing an auto–biography, “Avant–Garde: The Life and Times of an Unknown Artist”. In the early nineties, he acted as “featured extras” in several movies — the most notable being the Kevin Costner film: WYATT EARP. In 2000, he presented a 20–Year Retrospective, featuring new, visual works called, “Memorable Head Images of the Twentieth Century”, and followed in 2001, with an exhibition called “Love in the Twentieth Century”. He continues to develop deft images in LIVING REALISM — featuring ethnic and assimilated themes of Native and Black Americans. He works too, on a 25–year series of TIME MARKERS — sculptures, paintings and poems about changing social and environmental issues throughout the world; he co–hosted a Santa Fe “talk show”: “Discussions in Art”. In 2005, his sculpture was featured in two separate exhibitions at the New Mexico Museum of Fine Art, and at the same time, another exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum of Art.
During the last five years, he has curated and coordinated the annual “EX.EX.: Excerpt Exhibition” in Santa Fe, with the objective of presenting works and artists, which do not fit the mainstream of “commercialized art”.
In October, 2007, he presented the exhibition, “DEAN HOWELL PRIMAL”, billed as, “the show of my life!” — embodying the primal fear in everyday life and art.
Most recently, he is involved in the production and distribution of, FLOWING GRASSES: THE LIFE OF ARTIST DEAN HOWELL — a metaphoric, film documentary of his life, his works of art, his philosophy of teaching art, and his way of life.