I asked a fellow San Franciscan and a friend, Richard K Diran, some questions & the following is answer:
I was born in San Francisco and grew up during the Golden Age of Rock and Roll.
My father was the manager of the biggest auditorium on the west coast, the 16,500 seat Cow Palace.
When the circus came to town for a 10 days run, I was dressed as a yellow canary with Ringling brothers Barnum and Bailey, and hung out back stage with midgets who played poker.
In 1964 my father hosted the Beatles, and the Republican National Convention.
Since I had full access I met such historical luminaries as Eisenhower, Reagan, Nixon and Rockefeller.
At concerts I met Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Beach Boys ….so on. Muhammed Ali and the 295 kilo wrestler Haystack Calhoun who wore a real horseshoe around his neck.
I studied oil painting since I was 13 years old with an Italian master named Carmello di Simone. I recieved a full scholarship to Disney’s Cal Arts. After graduating I sailed 16 days crossing the pacific on a cruise to Japan.
Two years later I returned to America with a black belt in Goju-Ryu Karate.
With my years of painting, and my inherent understanding of color and the slightest variances of tone and hue I decided to attend the Gemological Institute of America and apply that knowledge to become a Gemologist.
Color of Painting served me well as a gemologist and I went on my first gem buying excursions to Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka in 1980.
I knew what components really made precious gems valuable and how those slight differences of color can be thousands of dollars per carat.
During this same period and for many years after I travelled to the most remote areas of Burma in search of the finest gems.
I began to take an interest in the remote tribes people who had not been photographed or visited in 100 years.
Collecting photos of more than 40 separate tribes my book, The Vanishing Tribes of Burma was published and launched at the United Nations for the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by Weidenfield Nicholson London.
A copy of my book was smuggled by diplomats to Aung San Suu Kyi during her time of isolation and house arrest.
She wrote me a beautiful letter of thanks.
Later in 2013 I asked her if she would open my tribal photography exhibition in Yangon (Rangoon ) and she agreed.
On stage she gave a speech saying,
“I want to thank Mr. Richard K. Diran for bringing beauty into my life when I least expected it”.
All 70 photos were donated to the National Museum where they are today on permanent display. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution extolling my work towards the goal of national reconciliation.
Further tribal photography exhibitions were held in Sweden and Norway in 2014.
My paintings are very small in number. One was sold to Judith Factor Hilton and another to the author Ray Bradbury who wrote Fahrenheit 451.
With two friends we were planning a group show in Bangkok then Covid hit. For me paintings are a meditation, the blending of color, light and darkness, drawing images of the impossible from the well of my imagination.
With the current lockdown, I paint everyday. And with my associates, inspect gemstones primarily for sophisticated investment clients around the world.
We are extremely lucky to be here in Thailand!