Some very personal insight into Dianne Porchia’s early influences leading to her unique holistic approach today:
“My childhood was greatly influenced by my “cool,” Uncle Bill Jacoby, a doctor of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, who all my friends affectionately called Uncle Bill, and who went by the artist pen name, Cosmic Surfer. Uncle Bill was a Renaissance man who studied astronomy, physics, mythology, neurology and Freud and was editor of the Psychiatry Association Newsletter. He kept a close cut crew cut, neatly trimmed beard, smoked a distinguished looking pipe, wore horn-rimmed glasses, turtle neck shirts and listened to “long hair” classical music.
Then mid life, Uncle Bill got caught up in the sixties, switched over to wire frame Ray Bans, tie dyed pants with embroidered Indian shirts, grew his silvery grey hair down to his mid back along with a wildly long and straggly beard and added Aquarian Age long hair rock n’ roll music to his extensive classical album collection.
Uncle Bill took me to my first Doors concert when I was too young to realize why it was so smoky inside. Love-Ins in the park and the Renaissance Faire were where he collected large beef bones which after getting bleached by the sun in his “graveyard” would become interesting necklaces and pieces of jewelry in one of his numerous work stations throughout his house where he lived in the San Fernando Valley. Bill hung out, danced, took photographs and made scores of line drawings at all the notable Hollywood clubs on the Sunset Strip, The Brass Ring, Gazarris, Whiskey A-Go-Go, Galaxy, Kaleidoscope Hullabaloo, Sea Witch, Starwood, Pandora’s Box, Sneaky Pete’s and Jessie Jame’s London Fog.
Uncle Bill not only hung out back stage with pre-celebrity status names such as Jimi Hendricks, Janis Joplin, Bonnie & Delaney, Spirit, Stepin’ Wolfe, Jefferson Starship, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Strawberry Alarm Clock and others at the clubs, outdoor concerts and Love-Ins of the time, but at any given evening some of these people would be hanging out at his house in a rural part of the San Fernando Valley. When I got older I developed his color slides and black & white film of these rockers and possess many unique photos the public has never seen.
My uncle’s house was literally a maze of pathways with stockpiles of organized and sorted “stuff” aka “potential” materials for future art projects lining either side of the pathway, interspersed with an occasional work station for jewelry making, print making and press, film developing and darkroom, etc. Wildly colorful canvas portraits hung on the walls whether there was open wall space or not.
When we ran out of canvas, the furniture became ground for creative expression. We spent hours painting pictures on his grand piano, chest of drawers and any other piece of furniture we could access.
A collection of defunct washing machines and dryers acted as a fence as well as objects for art and the bottoms of aluminum soda pop cans were collected and saved for their concave reflective qualities, while their bodies flattened out and stored elsewhere and pull tops made into chain links. One of my favorite Pop Art pieces was a piece he made out of an old Clorox bottle, hung upside down with a painted face and cassette tape spilling out the bottom spout. This was titled “Nixon Choking on Tape Shit.”
This seemingly mad man collected computers back in the day when their housing took up the space of an entire table and would rewire circuit boards to create interactive art pieces. Bill also set up a lazar, played around with the refractive qualities of glass and plastics and hung mirrors for the lazar beam to bounce off of throughout the house. Uncle Bill, like my globe trotting grandmother, loved convertible Cadillac cars and even this became material for sculptures and a skeletal roost for peacocks. Today he would be called obsessive compulsive but back then he was simply referred to as our eccentric and quirky Uncle Bill.
The one thing that frustrated me about Bill was his stubbornness about physical health and diet. He absolutely hated me trying to teach him anything about fitness, exercise, yoga, eating and preparing healthy foods. He refused to stop smoking until his emphysema and bronchitis landed him in the hospital. We all thought he would die. I understand now that this was his rebelling against a tyrannical and abusive father but at the time I only saw a stubborn man.
Despite his stubborn streak, Uncle Bill was always encouraging, supportive, non-judgmental and loving with me as well as with my many school friends who also came to hang out with him, receive his consultation and advice. Professionally, his peers at Woodview Calabasas Psychiatric Hospital at which he was a staff physician admired him and his patients came from all walks of life, from hippie musicians to straight businessmen and housewives. Uncle Bill touched, guided and enriched many lives with his vast knowledge, creativity and artistry, free spirit and passion for living. In my opinion, he died too young and I wasn’t ready to let go of all the wisdom he had to share with me.
My Uncle Bill never lived to see me graduate art school, obtain my masters in spiritual psychology or grow into the healing path I am now on. However, I realize as I write this brief dedication that the spirit of this Cosmic Surfer still lives on inside my heart and my soul and continues to guide and inspire me in the holistic work I do today. What a blessing!” (link to Holistic Approach)