the complete Randy Titus Collection
The full story of the Randy Titus Collection is very full indeed, from a rainy night in a South city dumpster to the memorial service for Randy with his friends and family at an Art gallery. From a published Article in All the Art magazine to Art Installations and Bio-mythographeology, Randy Titus left me inspired, so this a a big rabbit hole !!
The ghost spoke to me from the dumpster. Like a fine tuned language that is only understood in bits, he said exactly what he wanted. Ghosts are generally not even understood anymore, we bred them out of our culture, except in Hollywood where they get a misunderstood image. For me personally, ghosts speak in things, specifically the words and imprints they left behind. Randy Titus was a private person, the details of his life are inconsequential to anyone other than the people who loved him. What matters to Randy is his art and his message!
or how I found Randy and ened up at his Memorial, the first article from 2017.
The Randy Titus I see and “hear” in the details was a passionate man who was truly unapologetically himself. I can see him as a young man in Indiana with a pipe in his mouth playing chess, making art and reading about real life heroes like Lawrence of Arabia. An intellectual with small town aims with a lifetime pursuit in the the name of Art. He studied the great artists, philosophers and the rouge scientists saving the world with their minds. There is a romantic side to Randy but one that is thought-out in left-brain dominance.
from a dumpster and digitalized from his college years
This artist and teacher by 1984 was at the forefront of a cultural grenade with the merging of technology and art. Mr. Titus had the art shows, the training and yet he tinkered on the new tools of the digital age and taught them to a new generation at DePauw University.
A pioneer like Picasso forming a new medium and style with the very techniques of the classically trained while also containing the heart of a true artistic Soul. He laughed at the fear of computers while he used the keyboard and pixelated brush strokes to usher in a new era.
In the 90’s Randy sought out love, home and pushed commercial success into being. He worked for big local corporations and small time Non-profits. He also was interested in Zen, this seeker searched the corners of human knowledge for the non-answer to his questions. Alan Watts was a hero and they likely saw the same Void, pondered the same Koans, and came back stronger people. His analytical mind was silent in meditation but when he floated back to the realms of the Present moment, it was Art that woke his savage soul. He found meaning where none existed.
When he speaks it is with hush even tones, there is a kind of innocence to his work. Children with serious faces, hold themselves like adults while still being children. Women’s faces peer out from photographs longing for something transcendent. The shapes of patterns both psychedelic and early for the virtual worlds that would come about, his images had the composition and taste of fine Art on a digital palate. The exploratory fine details of a lifetime in a steep curve of shifting artistic mediums. Randy was top of the game until the Game kept going beyond his comprehension. Yet like the Master he was, he perfected his own voice to usable creative gnosis.
Randy Titus pursued the ultimate truths in the forms he explored. Painter, photographer, Digital painter, graphic artist, philosopher, writer, and whatever medium called to be manifested into reality. His epic piece “ No semblance of meaning” and hundreds of paintings are in the hands of people that loved him. His work is the essence of his consciousness pouring out into artistic forms like a tidal wave of Meaning and he speaks out like a ghost …of the inner depths of his soul.
The Life of Randy Titus was a private one and I can say little about his actual existence, all I have are the manifestations of his brain and his own words about his own family.
Randy’s family in his own words, plus bonus material from his grandmother.
Discovered in the dumpster were his writings, his unpublished stories, his family genealogy, his art portfolio, published press, his Kindle reader, his Zen/Philosophy book collection, his teaching curriculum, his ID, social security card, unpaid bills, musical CDs and one amazing abstract art experiment. That’s all…not much, but oh boy does it speak volumes.
The story of the night I found Randy Titus in the dumpster…twice!!
Let’s begin with the night I found him, when I got an after-work message from a local bicyclist. He told me a dumpster in front of the Carpenter Branch library was full of memorabilia and arr. Part of me was done with finding new Collections but I felt an urge to swing by. The Dumpster was the wrong way, but my intuition was screaming. Go go go..
Light rain danced under lamp posts as I found the dumpster near and Chinese restaurant but facing the library in an alley. Right off the bat I pulled out the books, a bag and a dozen or so loose titles that caught my eye. A nice bag (still use), new wool socks, a comfortable sweater (still use), Kindle reader and lots of art.
My car trunk was full but I knew this story was bigger than the useful items. I needed more.
A small box of slides and used photography film would eventually be digitally saved on my hard drive. A small folder of family genealogy would also be found and made into an article using my experimental writing form Bio-mythographeology, which simply put is letting Randy speak for himself.
After I found his art and art portfolio, I knew I had the most epic dumpster discovery to date. I drove away that night with a car full of Randy Titus and his unique mind. At home, I spread the collection out taking stock, and began my investigation, was he still alive? Who was this man?
After a quick search on social media I found Randy and his small friend list. One name seemed connected to a dear friend of mine, so I reached out and sought contact, rather quickly I was thrown into his inner circle meeting people and getting an invite to the Memorial Art show only for his closet friends. That afternoon became the basis for the first story to emerge. So inspiring was his art, his family, his art scene and the imprint he left, that I wrote a whole piece within 24 hours, most I wore before I left the art space while sitting on a couch next to Randy’s college girlfriend. A favorite moment of mine.
The Art of Randy Titus is a vast playground of experimentation, solidification and aptitude. Throughout his life as he improved his skills in painting, photography, drumming, digital painting, writing, and education. He also sought ways of expressing deep philosophical concepts with a Zen like approach, child-like wonder and heart-felt emotions. You can feel a Randy Titus piece on subconscious levels, and can appreciate the enthusiasm he brings to his work. With a dedicated skilled hand, Randy left us a unseen Legacy.
What was it that drew this classically trained Artist into Science Fiction? Had he always dreamed of publishing or did he have something very specific to say? By 1990, a solid draft ended up in the hands of his lover, who could see through the fictional veil and see herself and her son, as characters in Randy’s unusual vision of a Virtual Reality future. Three copies of the story were found in a Dumpster, two containing notes made by his Love and a 3rd seemingly a final copy. Why was it never published and what visionary ideals are found within?
One fact about Randy was his love of experimental music, as he loved Frank Zappa, the Chronos Quartet and was at one time the President of a local New Music Circle Club of experimental artists. Randy coached teens in chess and was a member of the local Chess museum. His life as mapped out by the paperwork I found was one dedicated to Art by any means, all mediums and all consuming.
At a certain point I became obsessed with Randy’s unpublished sci-fi novel called Breakthrough. The work has issues, but was an absolutely genius look at virtual reality and AI problem solving, and he wrote in the late 1980s. His entire art career from computer graphic design to teaching, from advertising and onto his solo shows, Randy Titus was always cutting edge. That inspiration grew into from the pages of his novel into an Art Installation called Dream Manager, that sat as a window Art Installation on Cherokee street.
Dream Manager (an AI system) grew from an odd idea in his novel into a surrealist “ready made” scene that spoke to the viewer about the nature of maps, territory, and human consciousness. For one week it was there, and then it ended up back in a dumpster.
I moved on to other stories and collections feeling that I had explored Randy Titus for the public enough, while I slowly read every book I found from his collection.
Then one day I got another message, exactly one and half years after I was contacted by the bicyclist, his daughter also a bicyclist contacted me to say yet again, Randy Tutu’s stuff was in the dumpster. I rushed over and met with the man doing the throwing. He told me the basement still had Randy’s stuff, and the last time had been Randy’s room, he had a lot of things.
I felt that old familiar pull to grab things that mattered. His teaching curriculum was the best item next to the two original paintings. These things mattered, as I didn’t own any of his paintings in the first discovery and the binder of his wisdom and teaching was the last piece to his personal philosophy. I had his actual thoughts on the nature of reality and what it takes to be an artist. I was back on the Randy trail writing and seeking ways to tell the new stories.
In the end, Randy was a man who spent his life doing what he loved and his legacy was more personal, unique and universal at the same time. I learned more about Zen Philosophy from his influence than I knew before, and writing about his abstract art influenced my own art and the process it takes to relate exactly what you want to say. That’s my story about Randy and I may or may not stick to it.