Lapthisophon has chosen to live in a beautiful yellow-brick house in Oak Cliff with a small two-story backyard studio (a former garage with what was probably a rental room on the second floor). His works of art on paper, canvas and notebooks are everywhere — some pinned to the wall, others in stacks, some stuck together, and some already stretched on canvas in one or another stage of completion.
What is remarkable is that Lapthisophon remains a committed artist while being legally blind. He cannot drive (and, thus, knows Dallas public transportation better than the head of the agency that runs it). When he takes walks, he does so already knowing the route, often befriending a dog or two in other people’s yards.
He lights up when he hears a familiar voice before he sees you, and he studies his own and his students’ art with supreme effort — looking sideways, turning his head, getting very, very close, and, with all the diverse stimulation, putting these visual sensations together in his mind. For him, seeing is a complex exercise of optical and mental synergy that is anything but “natural.” For that reason, what he sees matters because his disability allows him to understand that “seeing” involves the brain as well as the eye.
When he makes a drawn or painted gesture, he does so because his body knows the limits and character of that gesture before his eye does. And his sense of the materiality of art comes as much from the kitchen as from the studio. Indeed, the act of turning “ingredients” into a meal is, in some profound sense, like turning material into art. His work has used matter commonly associated with the kitchen — coffee, spices, bacon grease and other food materials on paper, canvas and even, in some important cases, the wall itself. He also uses ink, paint and other traditional artistic mediums.
When Lapthisophon became one of the few Dallas artists chosen to have a room-size installation in the Dallas Museum of Art as part of the Concentrations Series, he worked closely with curator Gabriel Ritter to create one of his most ambitious and enveloping pieces on the walls and floors of two adjacent rooms in the Hoffman Galleries.