Monday, April 27, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: T.L. Douveres

The Doof Museum of Culture and History has examples of Doof artists in our archives, each with a rich history and artwork that is engaging as it is visually stunting. But one gem in a chest full of jewels is T. L. Douveres, Doof painter and visionary.

T. L. Douveres painting in his studio/room at Arkham Asylum.

A Humble Beginning

After spending thirty years as a file clerk in a San Francisco law firm, T.L. Douveres (1862-1942) retired and he moved with his wife, Prudence, north to the Alhambra Valley, outside of the charming little town of Martinez. Life for Douveres became very quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of the city, so he took up landscape painting to fill his time. He was drawn to the beauty of Mt. Diablo and began to paint it in earnest. Douveres painted the mountain from all locations and in all seasons not unlike the French painter, Paul Cezanne did with his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire. Douveres began selling his paintings and eventually placed his work in a number of galleries. To his surprise, Douveres was becoming successful as an artist.

T.L. Douveres married Prudence Mcduffle on October 17, 1925. They met while Douveres worked as a file clerk for the law firm of Winkman, Blinkman and Nodd. Prudence supported Douveres when he began his art career but became alarmed and distraught when he started to create his Doof world. After Douveres died Prudence married a mortician and they moved to the midwest, settling in Iowa.

T. L. Douveres before the camping accident, painting at the foot of Mount Diablo, what was his favorite subject before the Doof inspired landscapes.

A Sudden Change

In 1932, something happened that changed Douveres forever. While on an artistic retreat in the Sierra, Douveres was struck by lightening in a freakish summer thunderstorm. Miraculously unscathed, Douveres returned to his studio where a strange thing happened. He became abnormally fascinated with a cartoon character named the Doof. The Doof was a minor star in cartoons produced by Music-toons productions. Music-toons was a small animation studio in the late 1920s that almost rivaled Disney only to mysteriously go out of business. Douveres convinced himself that the Doof was part of the natural world and he saw Doofs everywhere. Douveres still went out to Mount Diablo to paint landscapes but now his canvases became populated with Doof birds, Doof animals and Doof vegetation. Douveres immersed himself into his newly created world. Alas his financial success suffered from this irrational artistic change for the sales of his paintings ebbed and then dried up altogether. Undaunted, Douveres kept painting his Doof world despite the constant urging by his wife that their money was running out. Douveres ignored these pleas and his wife had no choice but to have him institutionalized. Douveres continued to paint Doofs while in the asylum, giving paintings to his fellow inmates and medical staff until one spring day he put down his brushes because suddenly he was convinced he was Napoleon Bonaparte. Douveres gave up painting for conquering Europe. He died in quiet exile a few months later.

Arkham Asylum, where Douveres spent his last seven years, was nestled in between Napa and Sonoma Valleys. It was considered one of the finest institutes in the state for the care that its patients received. One doctor in particular, Herman Ricardo, was instrumental in allowing Douveres to continue painting Doofs in Nature although it was thought that the activity was the basis of Douveres’s psychosis. The Doctor received many paintings from Douveres and in return provided the painter with all the supplies he required. Douveres befriended many other patients during his stay at Arkham, encouraged many to take up painting and helped organized painting parties that took place on the hospital grounds. Doof Tree, 1935, oil on hardboard

T.L. Douveres Gallery

Doof Tree, 1935, oil on harboard

Beach Doofs, 1940, oil on hardboard

Bonfire of Doofs, 1942, oil on hardboard

Dancing Winter Doofs, 1940, oil on hardboard

Migrating Doofs, 1941, oil on hardboard

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Temporary Doof Craftsman

Angelo Camilleri, direct descendent of Timotao Camilleri, the Doof painter of the Renaissance, began to carve Doofs while working as a merchant marine in the south seas. He watch the local craftsman create tikis for the tourists and then copied their techniques in making six foot high Doofs out of palm wood. He tried in vain to sell them to  tourists and eventually gave up to try to carve them out of cocoanuts. He returned to the United States no richer for his endeavors, gave up on the Doofs for horse racing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: Bananas the Chimp

Bananas (1920-1985) was an extremely intelligent chimpanzee who was tested and found to have an IQ of 150 which is considered to be highly gifted. Bananas was also discovered to have a natural drawing ability that was unparalleled with any chimpanzee on record.

His remarkable drawing skills were discovered by the US government after they recruited Bananas for the then infant US space program. It was there that Bananas was being groomed to be the first intelligent animal to be sent into space. One afternoon, Bananas was watching a soldier drawing Doofs for the enjoyment of his fellow GIs and Bananas started to draw the image on the walls of his room. Art supplies were given to Bananas and for six months he created Doof drawing after
Doof drawing.

These Doof drawings were extremely sophisticated for someone without opposable thumbs. The perplexed scientists brought in psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts,
psychobiologists, psycholinguists, psychometricians, pseudoscientists, psychophysicists, psychotherapists, psychopharmacologists, pyschohistorians and a couple of art critics from New York to study Bananas work. The final analysis was that while Bananas was blessed with a high IQ, he was not fit for the space program because of his new found artistic temperament. He was released into civilian life and went to work in Hollywood, first as an actor, then a artistic advisor eventually becoming a producer and writer. He quit the movie industry in the late seventies and became a comic book artist until his death in 1985.

Bananas Photo Album

This is one of the many drawings Bananas executed that day at the military installation in the early days of the space program.

Here is Bananas in the arms of actor, Gordon Scott who played Tarzan in RKO's Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan's Hidden Jungle, 1955.

Bananas landed a job as a technical advisor for the epic cult movie, Planet of the Apes. His friendship he made with the actor, Charlton Heston, lasted for many years. As you see below, Bananas was introduced to fire arms by the future president of the NRA and took to them like a duck to water.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: T.S. Sharton (1940-2004)

Was born Theodore Sandoval Sharton but legally changed his name to T.S. when he was three. His parents were of the middle class and each made very comfortable livings. They were raising their only son with the beautiful and sensible values of the middle class. Sharton was sent to an east coast prep school when he was 13. When he graduated, Sharton attended community college and loved taking creative writing, which he flunked repeatedly. He began reading his Doof inspired poetry in the campus cafeteria, standing on the table and grabbing everyone’s attention by reciting with strange accents, high squeaky voices and various sound effects. He sometimes staged fake fights to break out in the middle of a poem. All these antics caused his reputation and his self confidence to grow. Sharton came west to California when he was just seventeen. He was lured to San Francisco by tales of writers, coffee shops and community colleges. He wanted to be part of the Beat Generation after reading about it in the college newspapers. When he finally got there, he found out he had just missed the first reading of “Howl” by Allan Ginsberg.

Aside from reading all the Beat writers, Sharton fanatically read pulp magazines, and especially enjoyed the writings of D. Maylock and Clancy Webster. Sharton became obsessed with the Doof at an early age. His father owned a few Doof things and bought the magazines that the young Sharton would read and reread. Oddly, instead of finding comfort in the Doof image, Sharton was repelled by it. He felt that it haunted him and drained him of his humanity. This negative energy fueled Sharton and he produced in his lifetime many poems, plays, short stories, rantings and obituaries. Sharton once wrote poetry for 43 days straight without a break. Sharton ended up in the hospital with exhaustion after using up 45 reams of typing paper. The paramedics had to shovel the paper aside in order to find the unconscious Doof poet. His live poetry readings often had Sharon still screeching his words at high falsettos but now dressing in odd costumes, sometimes wearing capes and always leaving the stage before he finished. To better himself as a writer Sharton work at numerous jobs to gain life experience. Sharton worked as a gas station attendant, welder, delivery boy, fruit picker, carpenter, fluffer, plumber, cashier, spar partner, beach comber, dock worker, department store Santa and dishwasher. Sharton also tried all religions but proclaimed to be an atheist, but because of being a devout drunkard, he became a born again christian.

Although he did not play an instrument or could read music, Sharton loved to sing in the shower and was under the impression that he had a nice singing voice. Sharton once sang for Bob Dylan in his shower after the drunken poet crashed at the singer’s apartment during a spring visit to New York. Sharton attempted to record his poems to music. In 196-- He recorded three albums, working with who he thought were the best musicians at the time. He met a young Johnny Winter and found his guitar work extraordinary.

He wrote a drama, Forbidden Fruit, Forbidden Doof, under the pen name of Saul Mckowen. It never premiered on Broadway or New York for that matter, but made its premiere at his mother’s drama club in 1969.

His first collection of prose and poems, Listen to the Doofbird, was publish by the first firm Sharton sent his manuscript to, Abandon Press. The quirky writings made a few reading lists of community colleges English departments, but Sharton was always restless and never settled on one publisher.

Sharton’s personal life was always in upheaval and he went through one torrid affair afternoon with members of both sexes as well as a farm animal or two. He had a brief affair with the Doof exotic dancer, Abigail Lombard. He married twice, once to a ballerina from Bulgaria so that she could become a U.S. citizen. After the wedding, she disappeared and Sharton fell into a deep depression. He used the money he got from selling all the wedding presents to finance his Broadway musical. The musical, Doof opened and closed in one week, a complete box office disaster. Rumor had it that Sharton’s backers were looking for something so awful that it’s failure was a great tax write off.

Sharton then entered years of hibernation and a shocking refusal to work. He claimed that the Doof had final come home and taken his soul. Then some ten years later, Sharton was forced by a small group of young fans to start up his career again. They sent him to an artist residency in Wyoming for two weeks in December. the Wyoming winter was extremely harsh and sent Sharton into a deep depression and he went on a writing frenzy and ended up with his finest work, A Collection of Doofs. 25 pieces of superb self reflection, touching and revealing subjects deep within Sharton’s soul.

His fondness for drinking ultimately cost him his live performances. He was drinking so heavily that he could not get through a set without throwing up on someone in the performance. The only places that would book him were punk clubs. The punks thought Sharton’s performances and vomiting were ultra Dada. He soon tired of the hostility
and eventually removed himself from the public eye. He moved to Idaho in 1995 and built himself a one room cabin to shut himself and his work off from the rest of the world. Sadly, in 2004, he ended his own life, leaving the world a cabin filled to the rafters of hundreds of poems, plays and anything else that you would think to write.

Below is a sample from A Collection of Doofs. It is entitled, Everywhere.




Stop it
Stop them


It's staring at me
It's staring in me
It's staring through me


It's worthless



easy to draw
easy to paint
easy to ignore


I hate you

leave me be

go away

Do not call me



Sharton with his on again off again companion, Comrade Peter, who owned Revolution Press. Sharton published his book, Doof Boy with Revolution and was quietly praised for the work in the free newspapers.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Welcome 2009

Hello 2009. Yes I know it is April and yes I haven't been maintaining this blog. I beg for your forgiveness. There are no excuses. So to make it up to you, I will post some random pictures from the Doof collection for your quiet contemplation. In the future I will try to keep up with fresh information.

Doof Gallery

a changing survey of the growing Doof Culture collection.

Doof Bling

Doof Bling

T. L. Douveres

T. L. Douveres
my portrait of the famous Doof visionary

Doof Toy

Doof Toy

Doof in a Box

Doof in a Box

Jack O'latern Doof

Jack O'latern Doof

Doof in a Marsh

Doof in a Marsh
9 x 12"

Graphite Doof

Graphite Doof
graphite on museum board, 35 x 27"

Beach Doof

Beach Doof
rocks,water and sand