Conference celebrates legacy of Philip K. Dick

In Campus News, News

Cal State Fullerton memorialized influential science fiction author Philip K. Dick with the opening of a gallery at the Pollak Library as part of a weekend-long conference, “Philip K. Dick: Here and Now.”

The conference was coordinated by David Sandner, Ph.D., CSUF English professor, and Cliff Cramp, illustration professor, as a collaboration among the Pollak Library’s University Archives & Special Collections, the Departments of Visual Arts and the Department of English, Comparative Literature and Linguistics.

For most of the last 10 years of his life, from 1972 to 1982, Dick lived in Orange County and in Fullerton, Sabner said. While there, he offered mentorship to aspiring writers and was often a guest lecturer at CSUF.

Dick was even named an honorary student, Sabner said. He left his original manuscripts and letters to the university library’s archives, following his death in 1982.

The conference hosted a variety of individuals including students, faculty members, scholars, writers and some of Dick’s relatives.

Palmer Rampell, a doctoral student of English who specializes in post-World War II American literature at Yale University, said that Erik Davis, an author and expert on Dick’s work, suggested that he attend the conference in order to assist him in the writing of his dissertation.

CSUF students from the visual arts department were offered the opportunity to participate in the display, creating artwork inspired by Dick’s writings.

“It’s basically the opportunity for students to develop a body of work around a common theme that then they could take to use in their portfolios to gain employment in visual development in games, film, animation,” Cramp said.

The paintings were based off of four of Dick’s writings: “The Man in the High Castle,” “The Minority Report,” “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.”

One of the artists featured in the gallery, Mika Trujillo, a graduating CSUF animation major, showed off her piece, “Steet Scene.” The painting, which she said took a week to create, was dark with neon pink and green accents. Trujillo said she was inspired by the movie “Blade Runner,” the Hollywood adaptation of Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

“I went and watched it and thought it was really cool,” she said.

Just outside of the doors of the library’s atrium, a table held even more art inspired by Dick’s work, for sale at $10 apiece. Meanwhile, glass cases displayed at the entrance revealed the aging manuscripts of Dick’s influential works.

The gallery exhibit will be on display at the Salz-Pollak Atrium Gallery until June 16 and is open to the public.

Sandner said that the event was important in educating students of CSUF’s literary history.

“As the years passed, I began to realize just how deep the collection was here,” Sandner said. “Let’s celebrate that instead of letting it become something that students don’t know about.”

Sandner mentioned that Dick often wrote stories set in Orange County, and students could find connections in his work.

“We want to celebrate this legacy before it got too ignored,” Sandner said.

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