Right on point

Norm Dillinger

Photo By Tom Angel

Norm Dillinger has mastered painting in the style of pointillism—little dots—using acrylics on masonite. Some are abstract, while others surreally depict people and animals, such as tree frogs and moose. Shifting to a moving medium, Dillinger went on to paint his 1987 Toyota pickup—adorned with such uplifting statements as “Good follows me"—and then a Volkswagen bus, which he sold in a matter of days. A fixed-up 1969 VW bug he subsequently painted and protectively coated has yet to sell, at a price of $4,300. Even his house-turned-gallery at 821 Orient St. is painted this way.

How’d you come about this style?

[This technique] just seemed to work for me. It’s kind of unique, and I enjoy it. I don’t keep track of the time, or I might not do another one. I do them right on my lap in my La-Z-Boy.

I go off photographs; some I find in magazines and some I take myself, like at One-Mile. I like to paint a lot of different subject matters; it keeps me entertained. [Also], I don’t see the point of realism, because you can always use a camera for that.

Why cars?

I thought I’d get them out so the public could see them. [In selling the car], you’ve just got to find the right person. It’s kind-of woman-oriented, but so far all the women who want it either have to check with their husbands or they don’t have the money.

How’s business?

I actually need an agent. It’s hard to be successful. Not too many artists are good businessmen, and I’m not either, but I’ve got a degree in business from Chico State. I’d work at it more if I had to have the income, but I’m retired.

I notice you’re a prolific writer of letters to the editor. [He’s against war and hunger and for the trees.]

When you get my age [66] you don’t care what people think of you, so you can go ahead and express yourself. You don’t have to worry about being employed by somebody who doesn’t see the world the way you do. I didn’t vote for 42 years because the two-party system eliminated all the good candidates.

Don’t you just hate Thomas Kinkade?

No! I have more respect for him than most people do. He’s not overmarketed if he’s still selling. Most of the artists are jealous of his success. Most artists spend more money on frames than the income they get from selling their art. That’s one reason I started painting the frames myself.