Arthur Dyson was born in Inglewood, California, in 1940. While still in high school, he had a paid position in the architectural firm of Bartoli and Skinner from 1957 to 1958. On June 21, 1958, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner published a photograph of Dyson reporting his acceptance as an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright in the Taliesin Fellowship.
Although Dyson would have less than a year in the Taliesin studio before Wright died, a comment during that time from Wright led Dyson to a subsequent internship with Bruce Goff, someone "Life" magazine reported to be “one of the few US architects whom Frank Lloyd Wright considers creative.”
From 1959 to 1961, Dyson lived and worked at the Goff office in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Goff presented Dyson with a catalog from an exhibition of the work of Purcell and Elmslie, an important American organic architecture firm active from 1907 to 1921.
Returning to his native state, Dyson discovered William Gray Purcell was living in Pasadena, California. Purcell hired Dyson as his personal assistant and draftsman from 1962 to 1963. The two men spent much of their time together reviewing the architectural records of Purcell and Elmslie, discussing progressive design principles.Like that of Frank Lloyd Wright, the office of Purcell and Elmslie descended directly from the seminal architectural firm of Louis Sullivan.
In this way, Dyson carries a unique continuity from the Sullivan office through mentorship from Wright and Purcell.