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Click on Photos for larger images.
Richard straddling a horse and a mule at the
Grand National Livestock Exhibition, age about 12.

About Me

My greatest works are still within me. I began formally oil painting at the age of 13 with an Italian master named Carmello Di Simone. I painted through high school, primarily to get the girls naked. I entered the California Institute of Art, the newly formed Walt Disney college on a full scholarship in the school of art for painting. I was in the first graduating class of 1972. That same year I sailed to Japan, spending 16 days at sea, where
I studied Karate to the level of black belt, and continued to oil paint for two years. 

Dear Gangster

At that time I hadn't realized the obvious connection between minerals and oil paint. Color pigments from cave painting 40,000 years ago, the umbers, the ochres, the reds and oranges, through the crushed Lapis Lazuli to produce the ultramarine blue of the Renaissance up till the present, are all derived from crushed minerals.

My future wife Junko at the grand piano at the age of about 8.

Returning to States, I enrolled at the Gemological Institute of America and graduated as a Gemologist in 1978. In 1979, I began to travel to Burma, the source of the finest Ruby, Sapphire, and Jadeite in the world. Since my first love, and my first memories were of color, it suited me to deal in colored stones.

In Burma I began to travel to increasingly remote areas, where I
encountered and became fascinated with the myriad tribes who have inhabited areas not seen for decades, and had remained unchanged for a centuries. For 15 years I traveled through wilderness, war zones, malarial mountains, up rivers where nobody else had been for 50 years, and nobody has returned to since. I photographed these people and wrote about them.

Richard with Judith Factor Hilton 1972

In 1997, my book "The Vanishing Tribes of Burma" was published in
London, and launched at the United Nations for the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. I had photographed over 35 different tribes  and had written about them, something no ethnologist had attempted since Sir George Scott 100 years earlier. However I realized, I had been distracted. I had stopped painting.

Chinese Akha girl in Yunnan near the Wa Autonomous region.

Photography is the stolen moment. The lighting, the framing, the
subject were simple after years of painting. Painting is pure creation, a blank canvas in an empty universe devoid of direction or stars to light the way, where the painter is God, and creates his universe with his imagination. After 10 years of never holding a brush, I have returned to oil painting to explore my own symbols, to release my own mania in a series called, "A Week of Seduction".

The Week of Seduction is a series of ten canvases, I am currently
painting number eleven and will post it here when it is complete. Come along with me if you will and follow my brushes through
"The Week of Seduction.

Richard K. Diran

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This site was last updated 05/22/05