This site is an introduction to the life of artist, writer, woodworker, musician and long time Martin Guitar employee, dick boak. Featured are a sampling of Dick’s pen and ink illustrations, his handmade acoustic and electric guitars, examples of his woodworking, excerpts from his various books, his two CDs "Beside You" and “Under The Supermoon,” some YouTube videos, an assortment of prose and poetry, plus other links to his creative pursuits and career.
Dick Boak nearly lost his eyesight at the age of six and ever since, has concerned himself with visual details. Unable to surpass his older brothers in the sports arena, he focused instead on drawing, woodworking, writing and music. In his teens, he self-published two booklets of poetry, immersed himself in technical drafting, and began to experiment with musical instrument design and construction.
In the late 1960s, Dick headed off to college and soon joined the counterculture. Fascinated with the architecture of Buckminster Fuller, he began designing and building geodesic domes. Upon crossing the theoretical threshold into art, he abandoned academics in favor of a daily commitment to creativity. After locking himself up for three days in his notorious Kafka-esque living sculpture The Cage, he fled to the outskirts of society to pursue his passion for illustration, whole earth structures and the copious keeping of journals.
His wanderings took him to Vermont where he worked a series of disastrous jobs in support of his bohemian lifestyle. Eventually, he departed for California with a band of like-minded hippies in search of the utopian dream. Landing at Lou Gottlieb’s infamous Morningstar Ranch commune, he constructed many hand-hewn dwellings and domes and entered his most prolific years as a conceptual illustrator.
Returning to the East Coast, he became an art teacher, lathe turner, performing musician and luthier. In 1973, he discovered C. F. Martin & Co. and in 1976 was hired as a design draftsman. Since then and for the past 42 years, he held many diverse and creative positions there, leading to the formation of Martin’s Artist Relations Department and the conception of more than one hundred signature guitar collaborations with the top musical talents of our time. His six acclaimed books relay the stories of those collaborations as well as his extensive archive research and museum work at Martin.
For 17 years, he lived in his converted “Church Of Art,” an active studio for art, woodworking and live music. Currently living in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and retired from C. F. Martin after a remarkable career, Dick is creating new pointillist illustrations, writing songs, doing occasional speaking engagements, traveling, and working on the photographic and video archives of his legendary neighbor, Mario Andretti.
At Greenwich Village exhibit in New York City, November 2018
Photo by John Peden
Representing Martin and Kurosawa onstage in Tokyo, Japan 2011