Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

Slide Pastels & Smears – David Larson bonus page

The piece above was used in David’s first major review.

Thanks to Alan Bowling for all his work organizing and sharing art from David’s estate, with a big assist of scans by Grace Jenkins. Here are some of those images. (This is a subpage of Pastels)

















painting on canvas


Smears Project


from Randy A


from Debbie B


from Britt Z East Coast Fashion


from Ginny W P








                from Henry V and Britt Z


A last David Larson pastel from a slide that I missed posting. Kneaded erasure was used as a tool on the carpet pattern probably done in charcoal. It also puts this upset cornered cat in the smear series using it to accent the upturned fur in the moment of action.  Alan Bowling, de facto executor of David’s art estate.

David Larson Art webpage

April 15, 2022 Posted by | art, Raleigh history | | 2 Comments

David Larson: Dead Dads, Lt Walsh & Karl

Peter Eichenberger, David and brother Karl at Viki B’s wedding

The Dead Dad’s Club, Lt Walsh Day, the Poker Game, the Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Party, all were a big part of David’s social life and the action often involved brother Karl and his house on Sasser Street in the Oakdale neighborhood of Raleigh. And David always celebrated not just with drinking but with art.

from Alan B

The Dead Dad’s Club was invented by Karl Larson. David went through training and qualified to make videos for broadcast on Channel 10, Raleigh’s public access station. His video starring Karl and others about the club was banned from broadcast for lewdness ( the urination of Peter E off camera during the filming) but represents an excellent history of the event. Alan B posted the video here.

The annual party was attended only by people who had lost their Dad. David’s Dad died at age 50 (David told friends he thought he would die at the same age). David made a card for some of the occasions.

from Alan B DD stickers

from Bill H




from Sasser Street









Lt Walsh was a Confederate soldier who, perhaps in a drunken angry mood, fired on the delegation of Union officers entering Raleigh to accept the city’s surrender. He was captured and hung at a spot in Oakwood near the Side Street Cafe. His grave is prominent in Oakwood Cemetery, and Karl Larson, a fervent local historian, made adorning his grave a special and sometimes large event every April 13th for over 25 years. David’s portrait was used in the elaborate brochure made for year nineteen.



from Sasser St


from Sasser St


Karl Larson was a Raleigh legend in his own right and he as well as his hospitable house on Sasser were an important part of David’s life. Karl’s unique take on history was evidenced as far back as high school, when Steve, my classmate, would intimate stories of midnight readings of Poe in City Cemetery. A few years later, he made his claim to fame with an elaborate, well documented funeral for the original Boylan Avenue Bridge, which was torn down amid concerns for the continued existence of Boylan Heights as downtown and its throughways grew. He is seen below with Kathryn Myers at the ceremony.

lovingly appropriated from the News & Observer

Karl had a fine career as graphic designer and publication manager at NCSU, but his reverence for local history blossomed late in life with a post-retirement job as archivist for the state and especially with his magnificent accomplishment in leading the effort to restore Joe Cox’s Light Wall on the side of the NCSU Library. He also became a beloved part of a local scene blog call Goodnight, Raleigh.

“Raleigh Boy” posts on Goodnight, Raleigh

Karl’s M.A. thesis on the history of Segregation in Raleigh


David Larson survived Karl and his brother Steve, but not by much and now Phil Larson is left with the loss of all three brothers in a few short years. Steve’s dog Dup was a favorite subject for David, and below are some images contributed by some of the many people who have shared their art on these posts. Thanks to all, and love you some DEL!


from Mary R (cut-out with collage)


from Mark H


from Jim D (linoleum print)


from the Sasser Street collection

David Larson Art webpage

January 24, 2022 Posted by | art, David Larson, Raleigh history | , , | Leave a comment

David Larson 2000 Calendar & Bio Pics

In 1999, David was working pretty fulltime at the Habitat Re-Store, and a stack of bright white 1 ft. square chipboard panels came in. David started designing images on them with Sharpie marker, a concentric frame of his art deco style with an interesting natural figure in the middle. After I had seen several of them, I told him if he finished 12 of them, we would publish a calendar. Everybody was going nuts over Y2K, from millennial prophecy to worldwide mainframe crashes from two missing digits, and I thought we could make something of that. The result was a monochrome calendar that sold very poorly with two exceptions: to friends at Paper Plant events and to customers at Habitat, who received a very deep discount. (and David got all the money).  Nevertheless, the calendar has become a wonderful way to save and send a nice sample of David’s work.

I remember this as a wonderful and well-attended event at our house on Person Street. Many Larson laughs heard at this event!






My favorite feature of the project was the bio sketches that David did (or had already done) which we used to illustrate their noted birthdate in the calendar. David regularly did this kind of work, using a photo, and turned them into stickers which he shared with friends. A spread of calendar pics in followed by some of this work.

The final image is David Larson, born 12/3/55.


Posada prep


Posada finalPortrait of Jose Guadalupe Posada, Mexican political illustrator who used lithography to produce his works. A favorite of David’s, using skulls and skeletons in his figures, he influenced his Day Of The Dead pieces.  Transparency and detailed image for the 2000 calendar.

 Born in 1852, Posada was able to set up his own lithography workshop and became a teacher of the craft in 1883 after his success from periodicals and newspapers publishing his works. A flood had him relocate to Mexico City in 1888 where he worked for La Patria Ilustrada, then joined a publishing firm where he created book covers, cartoons, and illustrations depicting various current events, using satire. From the beginning of the Mexican revolution in 1910 until his death in 1913, he worked tirelessly in the press honing his printmaking craft with features in the magazine El Jicote.



from David N



from Evan W

from Evan W

from Evan W

from Art D


from Mary R – Tolouse Lautrec


Sasser Street charcoal


from Alan Bowling, de facto executor of David’s art.

David Larson Art webpage

January 22, 2022 Posted by | art, David Larson | , | 1 Comment

David Larson Art Reviews & Media

David got a fair amount of press, and they always ran those irresistible pictures. I always wish they had seen the gentler side he showed in gifts to friends and celebrations. Still, these articles, gathered, would seem a hoot and a holler to DEL.

April14,1985   StevenLitt

 Jarring, disturbing and sometimes downright ghoulish, the drawings of Raleigh artist David Early Early Larson have earned a small but dedicated local audience.

The works include images of Victorian-era beauties with Gibson Girl coifs, madonnas in filmy gowns or vampirish women staring at the viewer with an unsettling hollow-cheeked gaze.

At any one time. The Paper Plant has between 25 and 30 Larson drawings on display – enough to constitute a small, continuing exhibition of the artist’s work

Larson said over lunch that he wants to suggest extreme psychological states in his drawings. He’s also interested in what he called “the paradox of normalcy.”

Artistically, Larson said he has been inspired mostly by northern European artists…yet despite all the influences, Larson’s work has a clearly personal look.

unsettling hollow-               cheeked gaze

Max Halperen, NCSU English professor covered the Nightingale Gallery show for this RTP tabloid weekly by favoring David Larson’s work over “the pleasant but empty wallpaper that fills many of our local shows.”

Larson’s world (this painterly world, that is, for Larson himself is quiet and soft-spoken in public) is as unsentimental as they come. Nor is it an angry world, for the violence and viciousness are simply presented as facts of life…The fact of the matter is there is nothing quite like it on view elsewhere in the Triangle.

Steven Litt was less impressed with the Nightingale show: “He’s still working with the same angry pets, the same ghoulish men and women with bloodshot eyes and vampire teeth…”

As always, Larson’s control of his materials is excellent. He rubs, scratches, scapes and smudges rich textures into his pastel and charcoal drawings. The problem is that these skills are in service of a vision that needs to grow.

January27,1987     AndreaSelch

Andrea Selch did a big feature in the NC Independent and Wendy Walsh took the lovely photo in the back of the house on North Street (the one that burned).

I became interested in Larson when I saw some of his work on display at The Paper Plant in Raleigh. His pastel drawings of people drew me to them. It was something in the figures’ eyes – their shadows and hollowness were intensely realistic and emotional.

If I had to think of a name for his style, I would call it New Wave – not simply because the figures almost looked like they had spiked hair and were listening to punk rock, but also because after I spoke with Larson and learned his philosophies, I felt his work was a new wave in portraiture. It is a technique of social realism flavored, not by a political message, but rather by a human revelation.

He paints what he sees in people, anything from confusion to direction to sexuality to intellectualism.He says he wants to portray the soul. “A landscape has no soul,” he told me. I believe in eyes. They are windows.Through them you can see people’s intent.”

” I hate the way people are commodified by today’s hardcore consumerism, and I hate the way salability probably affects my work – it ruins the purity of the idea the same way even this interview does.”

Danny Gallant, graphic designer for Scream magazine, says of the above: I curated the show as I was supporting many of the great artists I had gathered for the soon to be stillborn new Scream Magazine. David Larson‘s Dupp was the feature and a huge hit, but there was a ton of great art. Other notable folks are John Vannucchi, Caroline Branch, Jeff Rooney, Lillian Jones, Greg Carter, Katie Boone.


Max Halperen reviewed the major retrospective of Davids work held at The Paper Plant. The poster below shows a list of friends, fans and organizations that loaned their beloved Larsons for the show,which contained 108 pieces.. There were also works for sale, including several large oils – the one poorly imaged in the article is at the top of the oils post.

In the article above, Max acknowledges “some grumbling about his failure to move beyond the world of Count Dracula”  but notes the strong defense from David’s admirers and sees him “edging toward a wider range.” Agreement to Abuse,” the painting shown in the article, is described as having ” a painterly environment which makes a broad and powerful statement.”

David Larson Art webpage

January 22, 2022 Posted by | art, David Larson | 1 Comment

David Larson’s Signs and Panels

Bill Hickman, a wonderful chef of Rathskellar fame, had David make this. The other signs were made for the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, where David worked for some years and where he gathered materials for his “Outsider Art.”

from Susan C


from Viki B


from Dierdre S



from Alan B


from Karen R


from Sasser Street


from Susan C



from Alan B


from Alan B


from Mary R


from Peter L


from Peter L


from Randy A


These last signs are a few David made for the Veggie Bar, which Art Deco operated off of Tryon Road.

from Mary McV


from Art D


David Larson Art webpage

January 20, 2022 Posted by | art, David Larson | Leave a comment