May 22nd, 2016

 
Untitled (Gille) ~ a collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon, Danville, Kentucky

Untitled (Gille)
collage experiment on paper by J A Dixon
2.8125 x 5.5 inches
 
Purchase this experiment.

Collage Miniature Collaboration Number Three

May 15th, 2016

“It’s close enough for jazz.”
— W Mack Jackson, MD

Earlier this year, during my gallery talk for JUXTAPOSE, a music educator made the observation: “I didn’t know that collage was so similar to jazz.” Although I cannot recall making a reference to music, I was indeed talking about the nature of improvisation. For most of my life, I have held a certain envy for how musicians could spontaneously make music in a way that eluded visual artists. The current explosion of collaboration in collage has changed that perception for me. Count me in for the occasional “jam session” with another collage practitioner, because there is nothing else like it. My thanks to Boston’s Mary Madelyn Carney for setting me up with a couple great “starts.” I’m looking forward to what she does with the ones I sent her. Stay tuned!
 

A collage miniature collaboration by John Andrew Dixon and Mary Madelyn Carney

Untitled (RESCUE)
a collage miniature collaboration by J A Dixon and M M Carney
(start by Carney, finish by Dixon)
5.25 x 8.25 inches

A collage miniature collaboration by John Andrew Dixon and Mary Madelyn Carney

Untitled (BE B)
a collage miniature collaboration by J A Dixon and M M Carney
(start by Carney, finish by Dixon)
5.25 x 8.25 inches

False Attribution

May 8th, 2016

 
False Attribution ~ a collage miniature on recycled book cover by John Andrew Dixon

False Attribution
collage on book cover by J A Dixon
6 x 9 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!

a final glance back at JUXTAPOSE . . .

May 3rd, 2016

“Collage artists form a unique and interesting community. The hunt for found materials is crucial to the process of many collage artists, causing them to be consummate collectors of things. Their collecting of material artifacts for their artistic appeal and possibilities, rather than for rarity or value, often makes them keenly aware of popular culture — present and past — with the subtle eye of an anthropological curator.”
— Cecil Touchon

During a gallery talk in early March for JUXTAPOSE, I floated this question to my audience: “What makes collage and assemblage rewarding for those of us who can draw?” The answer for me is that we see in the found material of our physical surroundings the ingredients for a different kind of creative spontaneity. As in most improvisational activity, there is a splendid opportunity for mystery, surprise, discovery, and joy. But there is more to it than that. I am convinced that what distinguishes artists who do contemporary collage and assemblage is their acute connection to the mundane “stuff” of culture and the inner need to bring a measure of order and harmony from the sheer volume of material produced by our throw-away society — with its chaotic, numbing effect on our sensibilities — to infuse a new energy into that which would otherwise be discarded. It is a burning desire to create value when none exists and to find wonder, meaning, significance, and (yes) beauty, where none could have been expected.

It was a distinct privilege to exhibit with some of the finest collage and assemblage artists in Kentucky, and if nothing else happens on the art front for the balance of 2016, JUXTAPOSE will have made my year.
 

Pretty Please Peony ~ Meg Higgins, Louisville, Kentucky

Pretty Please Peony
Meg Higgins
collage on wood panel

collaborative collage on oversized playing cards ~ Terry Ray Flowers and Robert Hugh Hunt

collaborative collage on oversized playing cards
Robert H Hunt and Terry R Flowers

No Stopping ~ Brad Devlin, Louisville, Kentucky

No Stopping
Brad Devlin
assemblage, found objects

Intergalactic Passion ~ Brandon Long, Danville, Kentucky

Intergalactic Passion
Brandon Long
recycled promotional banners

six collage/assemblage artworks by Lisa Austin, Louisville, Kentucky

six collage/assemblage artworks
Lisa Austin

Pollinators 1 ~ Kathleen O’Brien, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Pollinators 1
Kathleen O’Brien
mixed-media collage

Crossroads ~ Teri Dryden, Louisville, Kentucky

Crossroads
Teri Dryden
collage from discarded books on panel

Einstein ~ Robert Hugh Hunt, Richmond, Kentucky

Einstein
Robert Hugh Hunt
collage with watercolor on canvas board

JuxtaposeGrouping

This image represents to me the strong diversity of the JUXTAPOSE exhibition and reminds me of the exceptional “company” my art shared earlier this year — a pair of shadow boxes by yours truly in proximity to pieces by Robert Hugh Hunt, Cynthia Carr, Teri Dryden, and Lisa Austin.

It won’t surprise you to learn that I am looking for a good excuse to publish a compilation of JUXTAPOSE images with artist comments. Please let me know if that interests you!

A Heart for Jack Unruh

April 26th, 2016

“My amazing, wonderful father has just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer that seems to have spread. Please include him in your thoughts and prayers. We can use all the positive energy you can send.”
— Susan Unruh

“Jack has been the yardstick that almost every illustrator/designer (certainly in the Southwest) has used to measure his or her own level of accomplishment.”
— Woody Pirtle
 

When the wide world of artists found out that Jack Unruh, the modern master of pen illustration, was facing an aggressive disease, it became the catalyst for a phenomenal outpouring of love and creativity. There must be countless individuals like me, who have never met him or worked with him, and yet we are pulling for him every day, because the singularity of his vision, the authenticity of his approach, and the affection for subject that he communicates — all have left a deep impression for many years. In sync with many creative professionals, I have joined the surge of “hearts beating a path to his door” in Texas.

If you want to send Jack a heart, too, his address easily can be found at his fabulous website.
 

A Heart for Jack Unruh ~ J A Dixon

A Heart for Jack Unruh
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5.5 x 5.25 inches

Spencer Gulf

April 25th, 2016

“The Japanese word yugen means ‘aesthetically mysterious.’ We don’t have a word like this to describe art in the Western art world. Yugen as a concept worries some because it describes an intangible. It says ‘awe’ and ‘mystery’ can also be qualitative aesthetics, and the beauty of this is that though yugen is a Japanese word what it describes is universal in reach. Though a refined concept, it is an everyman’s word because it describes perfectly a good deal of the art the entire world makes to achieve personal and cultural satisfaction. In a time when we are 1% and 99% sensitive, let us indeed remember that the art mainstream, the academic discourse, the intellectual game of art about art, the ivory tower is only 1% of why the world makes art.”
— Randall Morris
 

For the second consecutive year, I had the opportunity to create a collage as prize art for the preeminent single-shot rifle match held in Kentucky. Visitors to this blogsite know my ongoing fascination with collage as an ideal medium for total spontaneity. Of course, it also lends itself perfectly to a planned, thematic solution for general appeal.

I discovered enough ingredients in my stash of papers to cover the Australian topic, but also to entertain a desired level of synchronicity to encompass a few distinctive characteristics of the event. In addition to my personal enjoyment, I am always pleased to see the positive response to collage as art. It has to be more than the element of the unexpected, although, admittedly, collage is never what people anticipate in these situations. I think it may be the particular combination of accessibility, interactivity, and “mystery” so inherent in the medium. I suppose there is more to said about that, but we shall save it for another day.
 

Spencer Gulf ~ J A Dixon

Spencer Gulf
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7 x 9.5 inches
prize art for The Great .310 Australian Cadet Martini Match of 2016
awarded to D Simpson

a collage adventure . . .

April 24th, 2016

“It’s hard to say. Sometimes people have had terrible childhoods. And sometimes they just haven’t found their special place in life. And sometimes they’re dogs from hell and must be destroyed.”
— Charles Addams

Remember the “start” I sent to Kevin Brandtner for the Adventure Collage Collaboration? Here is his wicked finish. I didn’t think the collage could get even more macabre. God help us, Geronimo.
 

Untitled (Baby Head Stew)
a collage collaboration by J A Dixon and K Brandtner
(card selection by Brandtner, start by Dixon, finish by Brandtner)
Sammelwerk Australien, Bild 79: Erdo fen der Maoris
13.7 x 9.8 centimeters

Governor’s Derby Exhibit

April 23rd, 2016

“The Governor and I are pleased to continue this longstanding tradition of showcasing the finest in Kentucky art.”
– Glenna Bevin, Kentucky’s First Lady
 

Kentucky Sovereign ~ collage collaboration by R H Hunt and J A DixonOne of the most satisfying occurrences of the year so far was to learn that Kentucky Sovereign, my collage collaboration with Robert Hugh Hunt, had been accepted into the 2016 Governor’s Derby Exhibit. The two of us never dreamed that the piece would find its way to the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort, but there we were, getting to meet the First Lady and explaining our unusual work of art. Hunt’s Mama’s Story also made the cut, the only “traditional” collage in the show (a black and white gem). Needless to say, to have any aspect of my creative life represented in this high-profile exhibition is a distinct pleasure, especially because it’s a part of the Kentucky Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The exhibit lasts until May 7.

Robbo and I are already conspiring to initiate a second collaborative project. Visit here again to learn more about it!
 

Dixon_Hunt_Bevin_GDE

Robert Hugh Hunt and I explain our collage collaboration to Glenna Bevin.

Bailey_Bevin_Dixon_Hunt_GDE

From left— painter Brian Bailey, Kentucky’s First Lady, J A Dixon, and R H Hunt.

DAAP MADE

April 17th, 2016

“Some people get an education without going to college. The rest get it after they get out.”
– Mark Twain
 

Yesterday I finished participating in the Malton Gallery’s DAAP MADE: The Exhibition, a contemporary showcase for those with a connection to the University of Cincinnati’s Collage of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. I was mildly astonished to have two large collage artworks accepted for display. It’s been awhile since I had something featured in Cincinnati, having left the school over 40 years ago with a degree and mixed emotions. My destination was Chicago, to accept a graphic design position, and I was not inclined to look back. It had been a rigorous program that left scars on my creative self, but it fully prepared me for the demands of becoming an independent professional.

Trust me, everything worked out just fine.
 
Diamonds in the Rough (detail) ~ J A Dixon  Matthew’s Touchonic Lodge (detail) ~ J A Dixon

details from
Diamonds in the Rough and Matthew’s Touchonic Lodge

two collage paintings by J A Dixon
(click each for more information)

Apparatchik

April 10th, 2016

 
Apparatchik ~ J A Dixon ~ for the Baker’s Half-Dozen Exchange

Apparatchik
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 6 inches
for the Baker’s Half-Dozen Exchange

Archetype

April 9th, 2016

 
Archetype ~ J A Dixon ~ for the Baker’s Half-Dozen Exchange

Archetype
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 6 inches
for the Baker’s Half-Dozen Exchange
 
retained for the permanent collection
International Museum of Collage, Assemblage, and Construction
(part of the Ontological Museum)