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The Mother Art is Architecture


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

The well-known American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, when asked about art and civilization, stated, “The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own, we have no soul of our own civilization.” Much in the same spirit, part-time local artist Dennis Kleidon understands the necessity for “freedom within structure” in the process of building, design, and fine art. Growing up in Chicago, the vast, impressive, historical landscape of the “windy city” played a major role formatting impressions of order, structure, and beauty in young Dennis’ life.

Dennis began his education at Bradley University. During his freshman year, he wrote a paper on the life of Frank Lloyd Wright. The information he would discover referring to the commitment of Wright’s design philosophy would be more than casual facts mentioned in the typical college textbook. Just as Wright believed in solving problems through design, this too would become a driving force behind Dennis’ far-reaching and successful design and art career. 

The end of his freshman year, Dennis transferred to the University of Illinois to study architecture. Soon, his interest would incorporate graphic design and art to complete his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University. He then continued on for his master’s degree in art at Illinois State University. During this time, Dennis cultivated a love for design through the drafting process. Working with orthographic projection, isometric, and perspective drawings became a passion and a significant part of Dennis’s teaching expertise. After completing his graduate studies, he was hired as an Instructor of Art at the University of Illinois teaching courses in instrument drawing. 

Exceptional talent does not go unnoticed for long. After two years as an instructor at the University of Illinois, Dennis was recruited to the faculty of the University of Akron, where he became head of the Commercial Art and Graphic Design programs for many years. During this time, Dennis also co-founded Kleidon & Associates, a marketing communications firm in Akron, Ohio. The firm works with clients in the building industries, product manufacturing, and professional services. One result of this work was the Designer Grids product line, which grew to nearly 100 SKUs.  Designer Grids are a series of 3-point perspective grids. This indispensable product became an important tool for architects, interior designers, and illustrators throughout the world and became readily available in art supply stores.

Today, following in the Frank Lloyd Wright tradition, Dennis maintains two studios, one in Surprise, Arizona and one in Akron, Ohio. Dennis has been an illustrator, as well as a painter since leaving graduate school in the 1970s. His painting style has evolved over the years from figurative pieces following the new realist movement to a style incorporating spontaneity, bold color, aggressive gesturing strokes, and an explosive energy that leaps off the canvas electrifying the environment.

Dennis Kleidon’s work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. His work has also been part of many group exhibits in museums as well as one-man shows across the country. Currently, he is part of an exhibit at Gallery at el Pedregal in Scottsdale, Arizona. In September, Dennis’s work will be in a one-person exhibit at The Gallery of Framing in Akron, Ohio.  He will be participating in the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour in the Carefree/Cave Creek area November 2015 at the David Wheeler Studio. Studio Tour dates and other information are found at  

For more information on Dennis’ career and to view a selection of his exuberantly painted canvases, visit his Web site,  To obtain further information on Kleidon & Associates, visit his company’s Web site,

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at