John Dickinson was raised in Berkeley, California and studied at the Parson’s School of Design in
New York City before moving to
San Francisco in 1956. His designs were produced in materials such as galvanized steel and plaster. He primarily produced furniture, lamps and lighting. Dickinson’s popularity has been revived due to an SF MoMA exhibition entitled Fantasy and Function: The Furniture of John Dickinson which opened in the September of 2003 and closed in March of 2004. On exhibit were a dozen pieces of furniture and over
30 drawings from the museum’s collection of 250 Dickinson works. Currently, many of John Dickinson pieces are in the collections of the leading museums in the United States.
In many ways, Dickinson’s furniture was perfectly of its moment. Made of tactile fine-art materials like plaster and also industrial materials like galvanized steel, his pieces had a primitive, handmade feeling but also an almost austere simplicity. They were primitive and modern, organic and industrial, cheeky and fun but also elegant and functional.