Otis Boykin (August 29, 1920 - March 13, 1982) graduated from Fisk University and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology before founding his own electronics company, Boykin-Fruth, Inc. He held a total of 38 patents including the 1957 wire precision resistor used in all television sets, as well as resistors used in guided missiles and control units of heart pacemakers.
In 1952 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was committed to Elgin State Hospital for the next thirteen years. A standard form of medication at this time was electric shock treatment. It is as if the lines in Steffen's drawings resemble electronic waves passing around the nervous system, fluctuating in pulses.