Archive for the 'Cosmosaic Series' Category

Make it count

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

“True desire in the heart, that itch that you have, whatever it is you want to do, that thing that you want to do to help others, and to grow, and to make money, that desire, that itch, that’s God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, to indicate that it’s yours already. And anything you want good you can have, so claim it, work hard to get it. When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up…”
— Denzel Washington
 

Denzel is the quintessence of the successful artist, and, by all appearances, he has defied the stereotype by cultivating humility and magnanimity. He also says, “Each one, teach one.” There are many ways to teach, and the opportunity presents itself differently at various points in our creative life.

I have always tried to compare and contrast the human qualities of those who have reached the pinnacle of an art form, and to remember that it cannot be about the creative result alone. When someone like Denzel advises, “Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.”, there is a desire for us to examine our definition of success, and it undoubtedly comes from a life experience that has had its ups and downs, its in-focus and out-of-focus moments.

For me, a passion for traditional teaching was more of a young person’s enterprise. I taught art to youngsters back in the “halcyon days” before background-check requirements, and spent seven years in my 30s as an adjunct professor in a university environment, taking what I was learning in the studio and sharing it with those just starting out. Other artists come to giving back much later in life, and bring to teaching their mature insights and proven practices. But, for me, the making of gift art has been the most fulfilling way to teach others in an unconventional way. Beyond a demonstration of willingness to give the gift of time and artistic effort instead of monetary value, one can also stimulate curiosity about the creative process that is personally powerful to young people.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My Cosmosaic Series is only one of the ways that I have tried to meet this obligation. It is almost impossible to describe the reaction of young people when they realize that you’ve made them the object of an exercise in pure creativity, as well as the recipient of the finished work. Many profound conversations have been the result — discussions about life aspirations and individual destiny that would have been awkward or futile to jump-start in another context. It should go without saying that this is merely one way to teach another about one’s most significant values, but it happens to be one that is readily available to any imaginative individual.

As always, keep creating lots of stuff, but let’s not forget to make some of it count in an exceptional way. Pulling someone up a bit may be the most selfishly meaningful thing of all.
 

Thirteenth Cosmosaic ~ J A Dixon

Thirteenth Cosmosaic
mixed media collage by J A Dixon
16 x 20 inches
private collection

Fourteenth Cosmosaic ~ J A Dixon

Fourteenth Cosmosaic
mixed media collage by J A Dixon
16 x 20 inches
private collection

Sixteenth Cosmosaic ~ J A Dixon

Sixteenth Cosmosaic
mixed media collage by J A Dixon
16 x 20 inches
private collection

Twenty-third Cosmosaic ~ J A Dixon

Twenty-third Cosmosaic
mixed media collage by J A Dixon
16 x 20 inches
private collection

Fifteenth Cosmosaic

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

“Curiosity about the unknown has no boundaries. Symbols, images, place and cultures merge. Time slips away. The stars, the cards, the mystic vigil may hold the answers. By shifting the point of view an inner spirit is released. Free to create.”
— Betye Saar

Cosmosaic was the word I chose in 1998 for a collage series that marked my first efforts at bringing to larger artworks what I had learned from creating numerous miniatures. They were intended as gifts for loved ones, with each focusing on the unique soul of the intended recipient. After completing fourteen of them over a seven-year span, I produced another in 2006 to exhibit with The Society of Layerists in Multi–Media. It relied on a more time-intensive technique than prior Cosmosaics, was more deliberate in conceptual development, was meant for no specific individual, and was more overtly metaphysical than any collage artwork I had done previously. As far as I was concerned, it was clearly a Cosmosaic, but it also stood apart from the series pattern and subsequently made the rounds of various exhibitions between periods of storage until we expanded our gallery space last year. Just as I had settled into the idea that this piece might always reside at my studio, it found a buyer this past weekend during the Open Studios ARTTOUR.

After looking through some old promotional notes, I was a bit surprised to discover the degree to which I had described the piece in spiritual terms:

“The largest composition in an eight-year series, this most recent ‘Cosmosaic’ represents my intensified concern with symmetry, proportion, and balance, both thematically and aesthetically. A spontaneous blending of found material — symbolic images, familiar icons, and mundane fragments — it shapes an interpretation of ‘the moving stream of life.’ The visual approach reinforces my sense of a profound interconnectedness, with eternal access to atonement, forgiveness, illumination, opportunity for soul attainment, and individual freedom through the Universal Christ.”
 

Fifteenth Cosmosaic ~ a mixed-media collage by J A Dixon

Fifteenth Cosmosaic
mixed-media collage by J A Dixon
17 x 21 inches

•  S O L D