PALM SPRINGS — Delos Van Earl, the artist who created the iconic “Jungle Red” sculpture that sits at Ramon Road and Warm Sands in Palm Springs, installed another art piece — “Orange Twist” — on Friday on the property of a renovated, mid-century office building at 1492 North Palm Canyon Drive.

    The William Krisel-designed edifice, built in 1959, is owned by Dr. William Grimm, who commissioned the artwork.

    RELATED: Palm Springs to welcome new 'Orange Twist' art piece

    Six years ago, Grimm, 52, bought and renovated the corner, one-story building, which he uses as his office. He had not seen the sculpture until it was installed on Friday.

    “Today was a big deal,” Grimm said. “The artist and his wife have been patients of mine for 20 years. I’ve respected his work — he does work all over the country and he really wanted to create something that was special for this office.

    “This morning was a big surprise — it was a really fun day for me and for the staff.”

    Van Earl, who lives in the Yucca Valley area, trucked four, large, white, steel pieces into town on Friday morning.

    After securing the huge, undulating forms onto their concrete bases, he painted the entire structure bright orange.

    “I love the orange,” Grimm said. “To me, orange is a happy color. Sunsets out here so many times are orange. To me, it’s just a great color. I’m so glad I didn’t try to pick the color.

    “I didn’t see the sculpture at all, I didn’t direct it, I didn’t pick the color, I didn’t do anything with it,” Grimm said. “He created it ... I didn’t ask him any questions.

    “All that I envisioned as a doctor was circles of life,” he said. “We enter life down low, small and we go through ups and downs — circles — and we end up ... I had the vision that it would spew off into the sky when we leave this world and it would go toward the mountains, toward the sky.”

    Van Earl spent 11 hours Jan. 31 making forms and concrete bases for the sculpture. It took the artist and his crew about six hours to complete the installation on Friday.

    “You get the best work if you let the artist do his best work,” Van Earl said.

    Van Earl and his wife Jena Van Earl have become friends with Grimm, a general internist who has practiced medicine in Palm Springs for more than 20 years. He also serves as treasurer on the Desert Healthcare District board of directors.

    Van Earl said he appreciated the opportunity to create a piece that would enhance the white, gray, concrete and brushed aluminum building that will be lit up and showcased during Modernism Week, which begins Feb. 13.

    In 2009, Grimm’s building won a Modernism award for historic preservation of a commercial property.

    The sculpture was installed on the north side of the building on Stevens Road. The structure is 20 feet long by 12 feet high.

    There is no signage on Grimm’s building — nothing indicating that a doctor’s office is contained within the concrete block walls.

    “Now they can say, ‘We’re the building with the big orange twist out front,’” Van Earl said.


  • Vibrantly Visceral


    Vibrantly Visceral

    Palm Springs artist Delos Van Earl explores the essence of nature through "Viscus paintings

    by Erika Z. Byrd

    "It's fine if they say this will great over my sofa, but the ultimate thing is to move someone, touch them" says Delos Van Earl of his paintings.

    His current body of work, "Viscus" is an abstract reflection of creation with images portraying elements such as rain, wind, flowers, tree branches and rivers. "Behind these paintings, you're not supposed to have to think" Van Earl explains. It's not that they're not sophisticated, but they work on a visceral level."

    "When we perceive a tree we don't look at it and think it'd be better with yellow fruit instead of red, we accept it as a beautiful tree. Really great art, you accept in the same way you accept nature." And that's what Van Earl is most concerned with, creating great art. "One of the things that is essential to me is that my work not only reflect my time and space, but 100 years from now it wills still hold up."

    A visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York after grad school in 1978 shaped his future. It was there that he saw two Monet paintings. "I thought in my life if I can create anything this beautiful, it's time well spent. It changed me from wanting to be a hip, rich and famous artist to saying 'I'm going to attempt to do great work.' Whether I succeed or not is irrelevant."

    But succeed he has with an integrity as powerful as the forces of nature he now paints. His vibrant "Viscus: paintings follow on the heels of the "Nazca" series -- a dynamic painted sculpture project that combined his artistic talents. Now he is focusing separately on pure paintings and pure sculpture.

    Art and science blend in the Van Earl studio. It's all about the process," he explains. A process he has refined, yes a process that allows the paintings to reveal themselves. He works on 12 paintings at a time and it takes him about six weeks to apply 20 layers of oil enamel on the museum quality wood panels which range from 16-inch squares to six-foot squares. Embedded in the paint are items such as twigs, seeds, shells, feathers and string. Van Earl likens this part of the process to an archeological dig. When I start to sand a piece I haven;t touched for a month of more, then I become the archeologist finding the 'painting in the painting'. This, he says, keeps the sanding process as fresh as the painting process. The finished pieces is one that has texture to the eye, but the surface is completely smooth.

    Each Van Earl painting is a one-of-a-kind. "I am not doing the same painting over and over again. It always come up different. If you own one of these, if is your painting", he comments.

    The youngest of five children, Van Earl grew up in a logging family in Crescent City, California. Struggling through high school with dyslexia, he was the first in his family to go to college where he earned a master of fine art at Mills College in Oakland
    Now at 55, Van Earl is at what he calls his position of privilege. "I have the studio space, the time, and if I do the work, outlets for exposure." His paintings now sell in the range of $4,000 to $18,000.

    Van Ear's work is currently shown in galleries nationwide and locally at the Eleonore Austerer Gallery on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

  • The Paintings & Sculpture of Delos Van Earl 2008

    Driving through the heat of the desert near Joshua Tree National Park in California, you would be lucky to come across the studio of artist Delos Van Earl. Inside the warehouse-like building you will find piles of cool steel sheets, some sprinkled across the floor in preparation for welding or awaiting cutting. There are also paintings scattered throughout: some are finished, some are still wet with the most recent application of enamel, and others have a powdery dusting on top – the smell of freshly sanded paint lingers in the air. Everywhere you look, there are bright splashes of color and an aura of energy fills the studio.

    While most artists who are as established as Delos have settled on a particular medium, Delos has managed to master both painting and sculpture. He captures a sense of balance and vigor in using either steel or enamel paint to form his creationsDelos works on about a dozen paintings at a time, arranging them about his studio, focusing on one, then jumping to another. Seeds, shells, string, feathers, and twigs are embedded in the 20+ layers of oil enamel tediously applied in sessions as each layer dries and is then subsequently sanded down. When complete, the paintings are hard to resist touching. The surface appears as though the depth of the layered enamel can be felt, but the paintings are completely smooth.

    Last year, Artists Circle once again called on Delos. His Mission: to find a sculpture solution for The Buchanan Partners’ Innovation Center in Gainesville, Virginia. His Answer: A simple, but powerful circuit of bright red painted steel that prompts passersby to wonder, “How did he bend that enormous beam of metal?” The piece was placed on a rotating base, allowing the property management team to turn the sculpture from time-to-time, increasing it's intrigue.

    Most recently, Artists Circle brought Delos on board as a potential artist for Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. The sculpture selection committee immediately fell in love with Delos’ sculpture, Red Nessie – a 45 foot long piece consisting of several individual arches of steel. Nessie will be placed on the far side of a large lake, catching the eyes of those who walk through the Raphael Viñoly designed campus’ main entrance. Nessie's bright painted surface will contrast nicely with the site's backdrop of native Loudoun County, Virginia woodlands. Delos is well into Nessie's commission and we are looking forward to her trek across the states and installation later this spring.

    Artists Circle Fine Art

  • Hide and Seek

    Energy and optimism prevail in Viscus, new paintings by Delos Van Earl

    By Steven Biller

    Whether abstract or representational, art can be heroically expressive. It can stand up for something, be a champion. The new paintings by Delos Van Earl — his most energetic and perhaps most sophisticated — achieve this by celebrating the pure chance and ultimate triumph of nature in wild, colorful fashion.

    The paintings in the Viscus series also punctuate a bright, important new direction for Van Earl, the Palm Springs artist whose distressed, painted bronze and steel works seemed to put his career on autopilot for longer than a decade. Those sculptures and wall pieces — each protruding a colorful angularity that trace to his earliest constructivist work — bear the aged appearance of a long-past time.

    The Viscus paintings, on the other hand, hold the promise of the future — nature’s continuum and cycles of life — and signal a mature, thoughtful, and deeply emotional response to the angst-infused, shock-and-awe images that permeates our lives and even some contemporary art.

    “These paintings are just the opposite,” Van Earl says. “Using nature as the reference point forces you to work at a higher level. Nature is more sophisticated than are humans. Everything’s perfect: The veins in a leaf are organized chaos but also where they need to be. There’s a sense of grace.”

    In Van Earl’s large new paintings, grace comes at a tremendous physical cost: the process. He applies up to 20 layers of oil enamel paint on museum-quality wood panels — many of them as large as six-foot squares or paired in dynamic diptychs. Within each thick coat, he embeds little gems from nature — seeds, dried flowers, twigs, pine needles, grass, bird feathers, and other items. This transmutation of detritus into art — in addition to the tape, rope, and even foam he buries into the layers — gives way to the physical and aesthetic challenge of unearthing the final picture. This time-consuming (waiting for each coat to dry before applying the next) and exhausting (sanding through the layers) process ultimately gives each painting the appearance of a deeply textured surface. However, his finishing process — sanding, waxing, and buffing — makes for wonderful irony: The final pictures, chock full of the stuff of nature, are impossibly smooth to the touch and a gutsy departure from the rough, often chemically corroded edges of his earlier sculptures and geometric, painted steel wall paintings.

    “This is an evolution,” he says. “This work has a relation to the human condition. Everything you do in life counts; that’s what these paintings are about. Everything matters.”

    Everything matters, too, in his biomorphic paintings. Van Earl hides items deep into each painting only to seek them in a passionate quest; the layering and embedding is transparently about discovery. “It’s like creating memories,” he says. “They’re sometimes hard to remember, but when we find them, we treasure them as they should be.”

    Van Earl is an estimable and charming man, one who works honestly and earnestly toward quality. The transition to brilliantly abstract and optimistic paintings from works that re-created “artifacts” and nudged us to revere history manifested during an emotionally wrenching period during which Van Earl doubled as caretaker and medical champion for his wife, Jena, who was suffering from a debilitating condition.

    “I don’t know if I’d have been able to get here without Jena,” Van Earl says, emphasizing how she continued to push his creative buttons through this challenging period. “Life has to push you to a level to see a deeper truth — a simplicity, a resentment of the superficial, an attempt to reach some level of purity.”

    We’re born with only our environment and free will and choice, he says, but we process decisions, however impulsive, through various filters. “No single aspect of life is so essentially important. Life is fragmented with different variables.”

    The artist’s understanding of these variables leads him to resolutions that reflect calculated risks and sound choices. He leaves us with supercharged images — sometimes tranquil, sometimes violent — that never come easily. He labored 18 frustrating months to refine the process before the wildly expressive gestures with subtle shapes from nature surfaced in the paintings. Each painting explodes with drama, emotion, and raw energy.

    Moreover, Van Earl’s resolution of discords, especially in the diptychs and triptychs, feels natural. In his first group of single-panel Viscus paintings, the monikers are particularly meaningful to both the artist and the viewer: Wag of a Labrador’s Tail is genuinely playful; Fusion of Scarlet Rhythm has a flirtatious quality, a convergence of energy that could be a metaphor for sexual intercourse; Dance of the Cinnamon Girl calls for a musical pairing; and Echoes in the Mind, indeed, has the transfixing powers.

    As the series progressed, Van Earl often gave paintings names that refer to natural gestures, such as the chaotic but perfect construction of a bird’s nest, a spinning tornado, or hypnotic raindrops. Van Earl has obviously searched his soul and emerged with a clear, optimistic vision. And the result comes in the form of paintings that could be his most powerful yet.

    “When I started this body of work, it was a course of self-discovery: the process of understanding life and responding to it,” he says. “The paintings reflect my way of coping with how fast life is moving. There’s no need to intellectualize it. The paintings should connect at a visceral level. If they do, they will last.”

    Palm Springs Life, Art and Culture 2006

    Steven Biller is editorial director and art writer for Palm Springs Life, Palm Desert Magazine, and Pebble Beach: The Magazine.

    About the Artist
    Delos Van Earl was born in 1951 in Port Angeles, Wash., the fifth of five children in a classic Northwest logging family. He moved to Crescent City, Calif., with his family at age 5. When he entered Shasta College in Redding, he thought he would become a high school art teacher and football coach. But he would earn a bachelor’s degree at California State University Chico and a master’s in fine art from Mill’s College in Oakland. He lives in Joshua Tree with his wife, Jena.

  • In The Red April 2008

    In the early days of nail polish, many colors became popular because of their coverage in newspaper society pages or Hollywood films. One of those colors was Jungle Red, a shade of cerise made famous by Joan Crawford in the 1939 film The Women. That shade is inspiring even today; a steel art piece recently installed in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs, CA, is named for and painted to match that same Jungle Red shade. Artist Delos Van Earl chose the striking color for the city's desert setting from the suggestion of Palm Springs hotel rep Robert Stone. "This piece is from my 'Luna Series,' which is based on linear form and movement. 'Jungle Red' is a subterranean piece," he says. "The sculpture moves in and out of the ground, juxtaposing the linear line against the sky and the imaginary line beneath the ground. 'Jungle Red' is meant to be experienced from several different viewpoints--while driving by at a distance, walking within the giant spiral or standing inside the arches." Who knows? This could work both ways--maybe you'll get some inspiration from Van Earl's work as well.

    Nailpro Magazine: News: Industry

  • Palm Springs Travel Article - Exerpt

    November 2009

    By Scott Brassart

    Palm Springs is best known as the "playground of the stars," a reputation earned during Hollywood's Golden Age when the friendly little desert oasis was both close enough and far enough away to appeal to the silver screen's A-list. With an average of 332 days of annual sunshine and 360-degree mountain views, it's easy to understand the appeal.

    If you're looking for a big-city atmosphere with a booming club scene, you need to look elsewhere. Palm Springs is a quiet, relaxing resort town. Certainly there is a thriving nightlife, but that's hardly the city's main appeal. Sunshine, swimming pools, world-class golf courses and tennis courts, great restaurants, and awe-inspiring mountain vistas are the reasons to visit.

    Warm Sands: Warm Sands is home to a cluster of gay resorts, most of which are clothing optional. (Adult film aficionados will recognize several pools and saunas.) At night the area is an outdoor cruising grounds, with visitors milling around inside and outside the resorts, and locals cruising in cars, on bikes and on foot.

    In the desert, jungle fever
    It's big, it's long, and it's hard. If you're in the mood you can sit on it. It's also Palm Springs' most recognizable public sculpture.

    Sculptor Delos Van Earl's Jungle Red - - 14 feet high, 15 feet wide, 38 feet long -- graces the entrance to Warm Sands, the most vibrant gay neighborhood in Palm Springs. The 2008 installation marked the culmination of three years effort by the Warm Sands Neighborhood Association.

    "The site suffered from benign neglect for years," says Robert Stone, who spearheaded the campaign, in reference to the formerly ugly median strip at the entrance to the neighborhood. "We thought it would be good for everyone if the site were rehabilitated."

    Van Earl admits that he usually avoids doing public art.

    "It doesn't suit my personality," he says. "It's a lot of paperwork and process, and I don't deal with that very well."

    This project was special, though, because he wanted to give back to the Palm Springs community.

    "I've been fortunate," he says. "The gay community in particular has been very supportive of my work. So this sculpture is a wonderful way for me to give back, especially where it's situated, right there in Warm Sands."

    The work is from Van Earl's Luna series, a collection of large-scale sculptures based on the linear form. "I call them subterranean," he says. "A portion of the work is beneath the ground, and is imaginary."
    Like all works in the series, Jungle Red appears to be a single, rhythmic line undulating over and around and through itself -- a sculpted steel version of modern dance.

    One of the great features of Jungle Red is that it is interactive, designed to be viewed from all angles, walked through, and touched.

    "That's what I like best about this piece," Van Earl says. "You can stand next to it, you can sit on it. The back tail is actually designed so people can get up on it."

    "The installation is important to the city and especially to the neighborhood because the location is the gateway to Warm Sands," Stone says. "Thousands of cars pass by the site every day, and thousands of visitors come to stay in the Warm Sands resorts each year. The sculpture is good for the neighborhood, good for business, and good for the image of Palm Springs."

    To read the entire excellent article: