Archive for the 'M Twain' Category

Good Morning, Mrs. Bradshaw

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
— Mark Twain
 

My latest three-dimensional work, Good Morning, Mrs. Bradshaw, has been accepted for the new exhibition in the Kentucky Artisan Center at BereaHAVE A SEAT: Chairs by Kentucky Artisans. Gwen Heffner wears many hats at the Center, and she keeps coming up with strong ideas to showcase regional talent. She is not only an outstanding curator, but has become a significant catalyst for high-level artisanship in the Commonwealth. Her semi-annual calls for entry compel creative people across Kentucky to accept challenges they might not otherwise consider.

I chose the medium of collage to repurpose a child’s classroom chair that came into my possession as I debated with myself about whether this was a show I should enter. I was provoked to explore a time, not so long ago, when there was a well-understood line between what pupils should read and what they should not. Its vintage design took my imagination back to the earliest years of my public school education, with its sharp contrast between scholastic prescriptions and my personal interests.

“Dos and don’ts” have always been a part of the classroom, but times have changed. Nowadays, a youngster can find superhero stories and graphic novels in the school library. The goal was to capture what I remember as the tension that came with meeting an expectation of obedience to assignments, but always preferring to devote my attention to playful escapes. I decided to “resurface” the object with found material and mixed media — alphabetical specimens, printed text, game cards, book illustrations, calendar images, songbook fragments — plus colorful scrap from comic books and the Sunday funnies.
 

Good Morning, Mrs. Bradshaw
repurposed vintage classroom chair by J A Dixon
12 x 25 x 14 inches

John’s Haus of Cards ~ three series

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.”
— Mark Twain

My card-making activity stretches back before intact memories. How early? Press me too hard and you might hear me claim that I started before learning to write my name.

Currently, my crafted greetings tend to fall into one of three categories:

Series Alpha combines scrap letters, often with traditional hand lettering arts.

Series Omega features my conventional collage technique, applied directly to the folded card.

Series Pi attaches an ultra-miniature dimensional collage to the card, like a little square-cut slice of “Pizza Pi.”
 

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Pi, collection of E E Smith

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Omega, collection of G Zeitz

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Pi, collection of J D A Wood

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Alpha, collection of T Strock

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Omega, collection of R W Breidenbach

collage greeting card by John’s Haus of Cards!

collage greeting card by J A Dixon
series Pi, collection of W W Bates

DAAP MADE

Sunday, 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)

to Chicago from Kentucky . . .

Monday, July 20th, 2015

“When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky because it’s always 20 years behind the times.”
— commonly attributed to Mark Twain

One of the best things about Kentucky is that everyone here is where they want to be, except for the usual quantity of young folks looking to escape to some other place where the grass is greener, but doesn’t everybody know that Kentucky has the greenest grass, even if somebody long ago decided that we’re supposed to call it blue?

I like to tip my hat to Ted Tollefson for turning me on to the new enjoyment of creating collage miniatures on beverage coasters. When I discovered a stash of Pepsi’s Super Bowl XLVI coasters, I knew I had to put some of them to good use. Not long after, one of my best pals commissioned a triplet of versions as gifts to friends in Chicago, and the small series featured below was the result.
 

Dixon_KY(4)

KY(4)
collage on Super Bowl XLVI coaster by J A Dixon
4 x 4 inches, collection of L Gels

Dixon_KY(5)

KY(5)
collage on Super Bowl XLVI coaster by J A Dixon
4 x 4 inches, collection of J Straus

Dixon_KY(6)

KY(6)
collage on Super Bowl XLVI coaster by J A Dixon
4 x 4 inches, collection of G K Straus

All Things Collage: Year Two

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
— Mark Twain

“Take what you can,
All you can carry.
Take what you can,
And leave your thoughts behind.”
— Tom Petty

“If everything you do must be measured against the good opinion of everyone else, what happens to your good opinion of yourself?”
— Wayne W Dyer

Hmmm . . . just realized that my line-up of quotations above might seem odd to some of you. At any rate, they capture a bit of what is on my mind, as I begin to reflect on a couple years of remarks about collage at this blogsite.

Mombo_MotherOfTheArtistLike many others, I spend prayerful time caring for a parent with progressive dementia. The other day I was trying to explain to my mother, in terms she could appreciate, my burning desire to make collage artwork, and, touching on her prevailing sense of confusion, talked about my creative activity as a way to bring some kind of harmony out of the chaotic stream of disorder that dominates so much of current stimuli in our daily lives. It brought to my awareness the motivation at the center of what I love to do, but also fell short of the clarity for which I was reaching. Over the next year, I hope to find better words which get to the heart of that idea — how I take what I can carry into a process that leaves thoughts behind, a kind of sweet madness that offers explanations difficult for me to achieve any other way. Of course, this is not the only approach to the medium. I hope to profile more collage artists who use a different methodology than my own — the extraordinary minimalists, the dedicated aestheticians, and those who continue to harness a kind of thoughtful irrationality that keeps me in awe.

I just looked over my previous comments after a full year of blogging, and, as a result, I feel the need to temper my ambitions going into year three, but that is not my nature. There are too many interesting things to explore in the dynamic world of contemporary collage. One of them is the continued explosion of collaboration. Another is the influence of social networks. Nearly every day I see an artist defeat the purpose of the platform with overexposure, failing to keep the age-old quality-vs-quantity issue in balance. One of my goals for the coming year is to take a closer look at how the ease of internet sharing affects the challenge of striking an equilibrium between the imperative to follow one’s passion without regard for opinion and the practical aspects of seeking recognition and approval from others. As most of you already know, it is not an easy task to walk that tightrope.

And one more thing, dear visitor. Please let me know what I can do to make this site more interactive as a unique forum for discussion. Meanwhile, you can count on me to observe, write, and make more art. Stop back again!
 

Untitled (flutter)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
9 x 11 inches
not for sale

He Smiled With His Mind

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

“I believe it is impossible for a man to tell the truth about himself or to avoid impressing the reader with the truth about himself.”
— Mark Twain

It is highly doubtful that any blogger can evade the pitfalls so evident over a century ago to one of the first modern minds that America produced. At any rate, I shall attempt to be as candid as possible about my own artwork, as well as the current output of contemporary collage artists. Today’s featured item stumbled badly out of the starting gate and remained in a suspended mode until a color scheme and visual subtext came into focus. What do you think of it?

Do not forget that I have a thick skin. As a firm believer that we learn more through a constructive critique than through a casual note of praise, I shall anticipate your comments at this site. Please register today and help make The Collage Miniaturist a destination for those who are not timid about having a frank discussion about this medium.
 

He Smiled With His Mind
collage miniature by J A Dixon
9.25 x 7 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!