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Full-Circle Success For Spearfish Artist

May 26, 2009, 10:09 PM by Karla Ramaekers

Full-Circle Success For Spearfish Artist
You may have seen one hanging from the ceiling of various buildings throughout KELOLAND, but Spearfish artist Dick Termes' three-hundred-sixty degree spheres of art have gained attention around the world. The largest-ever display of 'Termespheres' is currently showing in Rapid City. And the man behind the technique continues to push his own boundaries forty years after his first sphere.

To the untrained eye, a psuedo-solar system of spheres may appear to simply be a cluster of painted balls. But look a little closer and you'll catch a glimspe of the complex mind of Termes.

"It's kind of, it's yeah, it's a little complicated," Termes said.

Forty years ago, while teaching art students about perspective, Termes tried something new: combining the precise geometry of a six-point perspective with intricate designs to create what's now known as a Termesphere.

"You get those 'aha' moments and when I did the first very simple cubicle room on the outside of the ball and I saw how exact everything fit together, I knew I had something there, but you never know what that means forty years down the line," Termes said.

Four decades and thousands of pieces later, Termes is famous in both the art and mathematical world. Many of his spheres depict places he's visited abroad; others are places you'll only see inside his head. All take months to complete.

"I know a lot of people can just start painting but not me. It's way too precise, what I like to do, to do it that fast," Termes said.

Recently, Termes has been pushing his own limits by using transparent balls, allowing him to create multiple worlds in one piece of art.

"And the scene that you see when you look into those holes is like another whole cubicle world that's flowing on the inside of the ball," Termes said.

That type of art innovation has kept Termes viable in the industry. After selling his first sphere for around $50, he's created an empire with each stroke of paint.

"Some now are selling for $35,000. But they're the bigger ones. Twenty-thousand dollars for like the 24-inch ones, but I still spend way too much time on them! I haven't learned how to whip them out yet!" Termes said.

Termes has traveled the globe to find inspiration for his art. And while his Termespheres have gained international acclaim, he chooses to keep his home in the Black Hills because that's where he says he feels most inspired.

"I'd come back in the summer get all these great ideas. Then I'd go off and technically do the ideas, but then I'd have to come back to the Black Hills to get the fresh ideas again, so I think it's my place to be," Termes said.

The place where he plans to continue his work as long as his body and mind will let him.

"It's just a lovely thing to live in the Black Hills. To wake up in the morning, have a neat little studio to walk out to and create the ideas. So, I mean it's a delightful life. I couldn't have had a better life than what I've been through. It's just been super," Termes said.

'Thinking In the Round' has made success come full circle. The 'Thinking In the Round' gallery is on display at the Dahl Art Center in Rapid City until the end of the month.

Learn more about Termespheres online.

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