A. D. Greer
Born on Christmas Day, 1904, A.D. Greer grew up in anything but an artistic environment. At the age of three, he was taken from his birthplace in Oklahoma Territory, by covered wagon, to Kansas. There he would receive his education and have the opportunity to display his artistic talents.
While traveling a unique and diverse course, A.D. Greer was able to maintain his artistic interests. Having learned the sport of boxing as a student at St. John's Military Academy in Salina, Kansas, Greer would later contend for national honors in the ring. During the years following his boxing career, Greer painted church domes, lettered signs on water towers and smokestacks, painted stripes on cars in a Ford assembly plant, worked in harvest fields, cut timber in the Colorado Rockies, drove spikes on a railroad and when called upon, painted murals on restaurant walls. While most people barely made a living during the depression years, A.D. Greer's income actually rose. "My art training allowed me to do what the ordinary painter couldn't - be decorative. So in a manner of speaking, you might say my art has supported me from the beginning."
It was in 1934 when Greer's big break came. Having opened a studio in Oklahoma City to produce stage curtains, Greer capitalized on his talents by depicting beautiful landscapes of Grand Canyon and Yosemite Falls in a manner unlike those being done for theaters across the country. His approach of making the scene the predominate focal point, and the advertisements secondary, soon created a business with eleven traveling salesmen. All the while, Greer continued to work at his fine art.
During this time, Greer met Leonard Woodruff, a highly successful and wealthy artist who had toured Europe as a concert pianist while still quite young. After seeing Greer's fine art, Woodruff commented to the effect that he had considerable talent as a painter and should set his goals in that direction. It was through Woodruff's suggestion and recommendation that A.D. Greer was asked permission to publish two of his paintings (for free) by the International Art Publishing Company of Detroit. Overnight Greer's work became nationally known, as one of the pieces sold a million copies. "Though my remuneration had been nil, my national reputation was made."
But for Greer - artist, musician, lecturer, poet, student of philosophy and the religions of the world - there is a step beyond. Within this man, lies the soul of a poet - and it is truly poetry he instills in his art. Perhaps Greer's ability to capture beauty is the result of his ability to visualize it as a painting. "The brain is a computer and input is important. When I see anything beautiful, I make a conscious effort to remember it; if I see something ugly, or have unpleasant thoughts, I put them out of my mind. I don't want my head filled with the macabre, grotesque, sick or ugly."