Deryk Houston

Artist in Victoria, BC. Canada

The National Film Board of Canada: Featured Deryk Houston in the documentary, “From Baghdad to Peace Country”

His work is in the permanent collection of the Canadian war Museum in Ottawa. (On the recommendation of the National Gallery of Canada)

He represented the city of Vancouver, BC., in a solo exhibition of his work in the former Soviet Union.



Deryk at Ogden Point, Victoria, BC. (photo by Elizabeth)

Woodwynn Peace Garden at Woodwynn Farms, a therapeutic community for the homeless. The Peace Garden includes a labyrinth with herbs, fruits and vegetables incorporated.

I am currently featured at Art Works Gallery in Vancouver BC Canada.
And the Greater Victoria Art Gallery rental program.

Octopus’s Garden

click on image to enlarge:

Octopus’s Garden
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Story: Everyone just loves this song by Ringo and so do I.
Once again I was interested in the back story of how Ringo came up with the idea in the first place. Apparently he needed to get away from the hum drum of meetings,legal stuff and nonsense that often filled their lives and so he went fishing instead. While out on the boat he learned about octopuses and how they gather bright, colourful objects and lay them out around their little cave.
Ringo was on Peter Sellers’ motor yacht,the Amelfis, when he wrote this song. The name of the boat tells us something about Peter Sellers because “Amelfi” means, you like to make your own decisions and to be the master of your domain. What a great name for a boat. That’s why I put it up the side of the painting. I felt Ringo fitted the same description. He always struck me as being master of his own world. I really liked how he did so many different things and just had fun.

3 minute video: “Changing Our World One Corner at a Time”


Youtube links:

Ringo Starr performs it live in 2005

Cirque du Soleil performance

Ringo’s book

Raffi performs it too!

Peter Sellers talks about his boat, “The Amelfis”

Back in the USSR


click on image for larger view:

Title: “Back in the USSR”
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X 36″

Story: I always loved this song because of my experience in the former
Soviet Union. I was fascinated by the changes about to take place there
and felt that the world might have a chance after all. Mikhail Gorbachev
described how the Soviet Union system was not working. He also said that
the west’s capitalist system also needed change.

The Soviet Union went through radical change. The west on the other
hand, simply announced victory.

Paul McCartney said that he loved how young people could always reach
out to other cultures…..”hands across the water”  he said, and I
included that thought in this painting because I agreed.

3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time”


Youtubes of the song:

Version with some interesting airport and crowd footage:

Paul McCartney performs it live in Kiev 2008

Billy Joel covered the song in 1987

The Beatles


click on image to enlarge:

Title: “The Beatles”
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Story: When the Beatles burst onto the music scene in the early sixties,
the world went mad.

The names of a few of their songs have been written across the surface of this
painting because it often only takes the title of one of their songs to
have memories flood back. Some bring joy. Some, such as, “Yesterday”, bring a sadness.

Certain colours do that for me as well.

I also wanted to include their parents names because the idea of
honouring generations is important to me. Ringo was 10 lbs when he was born. I just tossed that in for fun.
3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time”



Cirque du Soleil “LOVE” trailer

I want to hold your hand


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Title: “I want to hold your hand”
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X36″

Story: When I start work on one of the Beatles songs, I always play
around with ideas for a couple of days in my head.

I used the same approach for “I want to Hold Your Hand” painting and
headed up to my studio to start work on it. But just before  I was going
upstairs, I had seen something in a documentary about cave art and for
some reason I switched out my original idea and started work.  I decided
to use my hand prints on this painting and I heard my wife rummaging
around downstairs and so I asked her to come upstairs for a minute. And
so I asked her to place her handprints onto the canvas along with mine.
It was just one of those spontaneous things that happen in my work.
Things are spontaneous but also have a thread running through them in
the form of peace, love, and conflict.

3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time”


Youtubes of the song:

Live version 1964

Version that has live video with studio recorded sound.

Version from “Across the Universe” with a completely different feeling!

Yeah Yeah Yeah


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Title: Yeah Yeah Yeah
Medium:acrylic on canvas

Story: This painting also references Eleanor Rigby and some of the early
songs by the Beatles as they burst onto the music scene. It’s
interesting to also think of the lonely people who might have wandered
the streets at that time, after losing friends and loved ones after
World War Two.
I had not reached ten years old yet  at the time, but I still remember
my dear old dad cursing the Beatles and their music. He said …..”All
they do is sing….. Yeah Yeah Yeah, over and over again….that is not
music!”   Ha Ha. We loved it!

3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time”

Lyrics for “She Loves You”:

Youtubes of the song:

Released 1963 in the UK:

Remastered live performance – also looks like about 1963

Scene from “Hard Day’s Night” with song and screaming fans.



click on image to make larger:

Title: “Revolution”
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X36″

Story: I consider myself a revolutionary in that I believe that art can
bring about political change. John Lennon certainly believed in that idea.

But it is never simple. Change can bring about unexpected consequences.

I have included a quote on the surface of my painting, made popular by
the physicist, Richard Feynman. He heard it from a monk. “Every man is
given a key to heaven. The same key fits the gates to hell”.

I just love those words of wisdom.

The same nuclear knowledge can cure cancer or it can create a nuclear
bomb with the ability to destroy us all.

We are certainly capable of doing both and I find that interesting.

3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time


Youtubes of the song:

Performed on David Frost show 1968:

Beatles demo version:

An acoustic version

Revolution 2 (the Beatles Shooby-doo version)

Strawberry Fields Forever


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“Strawberry Fields Forever”
Medium:acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X36″

John Lennon loved to play in the garden of  Strawberry Fields when he
was a child. It was a Salvation Army school for children near his home
in Liverpool.  His mom used to chide him for going there and so he had
said it was “nothing to get hung about”.
The song brought back memories of the time my dad used to give us hell
for climbing up to the chimney pots on the roof of our little
whitewashed, stone house, in Scotland.
As a little boy I could’t resist the temptation and I never understood
what the big deal was all about.  And so I would climb up to the roof to
see where the smoke from our fireplace came out.
The painting concentrates on the image of the sign or plaque that hangs
on the gate post to Strawberry fields.
I thought it might be interesting to make the word, “forever”, look like
it was fading out.

3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time”


Youtubes of the song:

Beatles version 1967

Sergeant Pepper costumes version:

Across the Universe version 2007:

Lady Madonna


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“Lady Madonna”
medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X36″

Story: Lady Madonna is one of those songs that resonates with my
childhood. When I read the book, Angela’s Ashes, I related to the kind
of poverty depicted in that story. We moved all the time. My parents
worked hard and did their best but they were always struggling to pay
the rent. That’s why we had to move so many times.

When I saw the music for this song,  I saw the basic lines of the sheet
music as a calendar and so I marked “Rent” on the first day of the month.

I also liked the idea of including a round fertile shape in the design of the work because
children are born and getting under the feet of mothers all the time.

3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time”

Youtubes of the song:

Portion of the original from 1968

Paul McCartney performs it live with his band Wings (1970s band)

Excellent cover by Fats Domino, whose style was an inspiration for the song

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds


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Title:”Lucy in the Sky with diamonds”
medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X36″

Story: Another one of my favourite songs. Lot’s of words written on the
meaning of this one. Trying to know the actual truth is difficult to
figure out. I go with what John Lennon said. He  swore that it was not
about LSD. He said his son Julian inspired the song with a nursery
school drawing he called “Lucy—in the sky with diamonds”. I guess we
will never fully know the truth. He always pulled peoples legs in
interviews etc.

3 minute video on “Changing our world one corner at a time”


Youtubes of the song:

Beatles original with lyrics:

Elton John recorded it in 1974

John Lennon explains – he looks sincere but was he really pulling our leg?

“Gnik Nus”


click on image to see larger version

“Gnik Nus”
Medium: acrylic on canvas
size: 12″X36″

Story: Gnik Nus is “Sun King” in reverse. It is a song written primarily
by John Lennon, but credited to Lennon–McCartney and recorded by the
Beatles for their 1969 album, Abbey Road. An instrumental section of
“Sun King” was also used at the end of the track “Octopus’s Garden” on
the compilation.

They originally were going to title it “Here comes the Sun King” but
shortened it to “Sun King” instead to avoid confusion over their
previous song, “Here Comes the Sun”.

I really liked the sound of it played in reverse. They also enjoyed
throwing in silly stuff into their music to throw off intellectuals. I
like that idea also because I can’t stand authority.

3 minute video “Changing our World one corner at a time”. Shows me painting.

Lyrics (not reversed!)

Youtubes of the song

“Gnik Nus” The “Love” Cirque du Soleil version

Rehearsal quality “Sun King” from 1969 version

“Love” version re-reversed so you can hear the words