Frank Diener was my dad. I will have to say he was my biggest creative influence. He was such a character and institution in Greenville, North Carolina. Though out my life he was always working on his model circus. It had entertainers and exotic animals. Each one as he would say was made from the best packing creates and scrap wood he could find. He literally would make all of the circus pieces from what ever he could find. The main on the horses were from my sisters hair after she got a hair cut. The leather for the tail from the elephants were from scraps from a shoe repair shop down the road from our bakery.
I still don't know how he found the time to make all these pieces. There were hundreds of carvings of animals, circus wagons and performers. He ran a Diener's Bakery getting up at 4:30 am every morning to get it ready to make the donuts. He would sleep in on Sundays till 7am and then went in to work to fix things that he did not have time to fix during the week. He also ran a concession stand for the East Carolina University at during football and basketball seasons. On top of all of that he raised 4 kids. Now if that doesn't just make you tired I don't know what will.
When I went to college one of the courses touched on folk art. The whole time I was thinking my dad is a folk artist. We never called him that he was always just Frank Diener my dad. The eccentric dad who would pick me up in the bakery truck wearing a pith helmet. He would always be surrounded by carvings he was working on. Maybe a half a elephant or working on the details of a clown. When I brought up that he was a folk artist he just laughed and said he is just a guy doing what he loves to do.
He had some notoriety around Greenville for his carvings. In around 1995 or so he started getting some attention from all around the state. He was invited to the North Carolina Museum of Art when they were exhibiting folk artists from around the state. While there he was contacted from his old school North Carolina State University. After some conversations they put together a show of all his pieces at the NCSU Museum of Design. This is where this video was taken.
As you can see from the video that I could not be more proud of my dad. He is still the most influential people in my life. He taught me hard work and that art is also a craft that you need to work on constantly to excel at. I hope you enjoy this video and the small homage to Frank Diener.