Archive for the 'Current Events' Category
“As artists, we have to lead from the heart.”
— Lee Harvey Osmond (aka Tom Wilson)
Previously, I have remarked about artists continually being pestered to donate their work to “worthy causes.” Personally unable to categorically refuse, as some do in principle, I have kept my contributions infrequent, close to home, and relatively small in scale. I know artists who can get dogmatic about this subject, not only steadfastly rebuffing all solicitations, but also insisting that others follow their lead. To be honest, I cannot say that they have failed to rationally argue their position. Even so, I think that artists, not unlike other professionals, should be able to find the proper place for occasional pro bono work, and each individual should be free to follow one’s heart. In addition, people who administer charitable, educational, and other nonprofit organizations might make a better effort to understand the issue from an artist’s point of view and to consider more carefully how their knee-jerk requests for free product serve to devalue creative labor.
And now for the anecdote: Once every two years, I create a collage for An Art-full Affair, our biennial effort to raise money for local arts scholarships. Each donation of artwork or creative service is matched by a ticket sale, admitting the buyer and her guest to a double-evening of festivities — a preview party and a gala drawing. The first name drawn gets to pick from every available donation on display, until there is only one ticket holder and one artwork remaining. Each item is guaranteed to be worth at least twice the value of the ticket price. For the artist, it is always suspenseful to see how early one’s piece is selected. For the supporter, there is the duel satisfaction of taking home a bargain while also helping deserving youngsters who would not be able otherwise experience art, music, drama, and dance. Nobody offers me more encouragement than my sister, Joan. Two years ago, her name was not drawn early enough for her to pick my offering, but this time luck favored her wish list, and, when her name was announced, she selected my artwork. I was especially pleased. With this kind of thoughtfully organized event, everyone wins!
collage on structured panel by J A Dixon
20 x 15.75 inches
collection of J Wood
To all art lovers near Central Kentucky:
Please stop by our Open Studios this weekend.
“Talisman for the Heart” by Kathleen O’Brien
“Design is moving an existing condition to a preferred one.”
— Milton Glaser
I attended the first Great American Brass Band Festival in 1990 with my wife and partner, Dana, the same summer that we relocated our home-based design business to Danville, Kentucky. Big portions of the previous year had been spent apart, as I developed business contacts in Central Kentucky while she held the fort at our studio in Dayton, Ohio. That inaugural Festival was an opportunity to spend time together in downtown Danville, and the ambiance of that weekend supported all that we were discovering about our new home community. We have been devoted fans of the Festival ever since, and it is now impossible for us to imagine a June in Danville without world-class brass music within walking distance. After that first Festival, my capabilities as a graphic designer and lettering artist came to the attention of the organizers. I have since worked closely with them on establishing the visual identity of the event and creating designs for nine commemorative posters.
The 25th Great American Brass Band Festival will be held next weekend, and I shall be signing posters at the kick-off Gallery Hop Stop. Coming up with a suitable theme for this year’s poster was a challenge. We recognized that the milestone 25th Festival demanded a visual approach that would pay bold tribute to its heritage. No single aspect would do that, so I built a montage of images to salute the key elements of the Festival: the musicians, the parade, the picnic, the patriotism, the balloons, the fireworks, and the long history of enthusiasm for brass. With a quarter century of photography on file, it was a tough editing task. The result is a colorful, celebratory design intended to bring a smile to the face of every fan of the event.
The visual montage and the traditional collage are close cousins, and both techniques inform the other in my work as a fine and applied artist. The blurred boundary between graphic illustration and fine-art collage — conventional and digital — is an intriguing subject that I shall explore from time to time at this site. Please stop back here again (and do drop in at the Community Arts Center on Thursday evening, 5:30 to 7 pm, if you are in the Danville area).
Celebrating 25 Years
commemorative poster design by J A Dixon
available for purchase
At the recent Gallery Hop Stop in downtown Danville, I was pleased that people sought out my display of collage miniatures, tucked away in the conference room of Tye Financial. Needless to say, this small town in Kentucky is not a stronghold of contemporary art collectors, but the opportunity to interact with those kind enough to pause and discuss the medium of collage is always a valuable learning experience for me. Most of my hoard is now configured for direct purchase at this site, before all of it is made available to the public at the 2013 ArtTour, Annual Open Studios of Central Kentucky.
Go ahead and grab one for yourself before November.
J A Dixon and a recent display of his collage miniatures.
“I want to be in Kentucky when the end of the world comes, because it’s always 20 years behind.”
— Mark Twain
I’m sitting here in the Bluegrass State, wondering how everyone else is faring today. My hunch is that the Mayans stopped working on their stone calendar because they were a bit preoccupied with the Spanish conquistadores. Or, as somebody more witty than me speculated the other day, the artisan responsible probably put it aside and remarked to a friend, “If I never finish this thing, it’s not the end of the world.”
collage miniature by J A Dixon
6.5 x 8 inches, available for purchase
“There is evil in the world. It’s beyond mental illness, beyond gun control. It is evil.”
— John R Coyne, Jr
“Man is made of such crooked stuff that it is impossible to set him straight, said a famous philosopher. God help us.”
— Ben Stein
When something like this occurs, there are those who respond with heartfelt, eloquent words. A few others will make political hay.
Some of us can only make art.
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 7.5 inches, available for purchase
“Get the facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”
— Mark Twain
I live and work in a 90-year-old bungalow in downtown Danville, Kentucky. Tomorrow night, a couple blocks from my studio, Centre College will host the 2012 Vice Presidential debate between Joseph Biden and Paul Ryan. A few of us will walk over to campus, set up chairs, and view the contest on a big screen. After the event, there will be a free outdoor concert by the Marshall Tucker Band.
So, there you have it: the most political entry you will ever see at this site. God bless America.
Mao, Mom, and Cherry Pie
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4.5 x 4.5 inches
Purchase this artwork!