Roy De Forest. Travel Tales to Children’s Books

Video clip from Suzanne Simpson, Roy De Forest: You Can Make Art Out of Anything, 1974. Digitally restored by Pentimenti Productions, 2017. Courtesy of Suzanne Simpson.

The imaginary worlds of literature animate Roy De Forest’s storytelling paintings. An avid reader since childhood, he maintained a kind of encyclopedic knowledge of his interests in quantum physics to Egyptology—his mother was a mystic, and they frequently visited the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San José, California.1 De Forest read travel, adventure, and Western frontier tales—Jack London and Mark Twain were among his favorites—and kept children’s books around his studio. He was a lover of poetry, to which he attributed his creative titles. When the artist died in 2007, his personal library held more than two thousand titles.

  1. Susan Landauer, Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest (Oakland: Oakland Museum of California, 2017), 27 and 54. ↩︎