2016-04-26 01:54:22 UTC
...Dhimitri and Margaret met while he served in the U.S. Army (Intelligence) in World War II, stationed outside Cambridge, England, where Margaret was born and raised. Their married life was lived in St. Louis, with Dhimitri working as a photoengraver at several places, including the Post-Dispatch, honing his skills and interests in art. From 1963 on, he worked as a professional artist, with exhibits and prizes won nationally and internationally, having his own studio where he taught many interested students. His work as an iconographer is part of the legacy he leaves us, including a number of Orthodox churches in the St. Louis area, together with the ceiling murals at Oak Grove Mausoleum...
(1973 article on Zonia, with old photo)
Big Bang creations
Dhimitri Zonia turns to computers to create imaginary worlds in a new WWU art exhibit.
By LINDSEY HOWALD OF THE of the Tribune's staff
Published Sunday, November 16, 2008
FULTON - At first glance, the Mildred Cox Gallery at William Woods University might look like a Star Wars-themed playroom, but Dhimitri Zonia is no kid.
The artist is in fact a lively 87-year-old man born to Romanian immigrant parents in St. Louis, and he can maneuver a mouse in Photoshop better than most members of Generation Y. The 125 works in the gallery are a testament to his energy and zeal for imaginary worlds and digital imaging, which he discovered at age 76 after a lifetime of painting and drawing and never looked back. There are quite a few stories Zonia, a charmer with an affectionately self-deprecating sense of humor, can tell, from growing up in Soulard during the Great Depression to how he met his wife of 61 years, Margaret, as a soldier stationed in England in World War II, to the time he actually reached out and touched Michelangelo's statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, to the extreme displeasure of a security guard.
Of all of these stories, however, this is perhaps the most fascinating: An elderly man sits down to a computer. He has decided, at the urging of a friend, to take the Beginning Photoshop class at St. Louis Community College's Meramec campus, and everyone else looks to him to be about 9 years old.
His computer screen is a deep black, and as everyone else re-boots, opens the program and begins clicking away, for the life of him Zonia can't figure out how to turn the thing on.
The instructor, Kathy Dirken, "introduced herself and said, 'We're going to work in Photoshop,' " Zonia recalled. "And from that point on, the language she used was alien to me."
The next class, he came in early and told the teacher he was out of his element; he was overwhelmed; he wanted to quit. "She said, 'Dhimitri, look at me,' " Zonia said. "She pointed her index finger at me right between the eyes and said, 'If you don't give up on me, I won't give up on you. Go over there, sit behind the computer, I'll get you started.' And that was the turning point for me."...
From the second half:
..."I dream of things that never were and say why NOT," Zonia quotes the playwright George Bernard Shaw in "Dhimitri Zonia's Hand and Creature Sketch," a triptych reminiscent of M.C. Escher's work, showing the artist's hand drawing. In the gallery, the best works are those that display Zonia's talent for sketching alongside digital creations, lending depth and insight into his process.
Showing the otherworldly "allows me to be creative and not have wrought-iron fences around the subject matter. ... Outer space allows me to imagine. I actually take flights of fancy out into space while working. I say, 'OK, all on board, and don't move around until the spaceship takes off,' " he said with a laugh. "I have such an imagination that I can actually imagine myself being out there seeing comets, splitting the midnight sky."...
(some book covers)
Stepka and the Magic Fire by Dorothy Van Woerkom, 1974
"The charcoal-burners' fire brings new life to a poor Russian family on Easter eve."
Journeys to Bethlehem: The Story of the First Christmas by Dorothy Van Woerkom, 1974
Arise my love: Song of Solomon, 1975
Surfing In Cosmos by Dhimitri Zonia, 2004