Archive for the 'Gift Art' Category

Robykana

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

“Art is worthless unless it plants a measure of
splendor in people’s hearts.”
—Taha Muhammad Ali

There are few creative pastimes more fulfilling than directing one’s practice into a personal gift of art. Robykana, a collage on panel, is a housewarming present for two of our most hospitable of friends. Its title derives from the name of their new dwelling, perched upon a Kentucky River overlook with, at best, only a handful of rivals in the Bluegrass. It is the kind of sanctuary many would keep to themselves, but our friends take quite the opposite approach. My grateful response can only be to create a composition packed with private references, symbolic meanings, and secret allusions. Needless to say, a collage artist will use the process as an opportunity for intuitive spontaneity and the working out of ongoing aesthetic considerations. Without fail, this kind of intimate enterprise gives rise to ideas for new investigations, and, happily, it becomes a gift to myself as well.

Robykana ~ J A Dixon

Robykana
collage on panel by J A Dixon
23 x 17 inches
collection of S & R Hempel

Continuing a series . . .

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

“It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover.”
— Henri Poincaré

December is the time of year for making hand-crafted holiday cards. By and by, I return to variations on the theme of a Christmas tree. Perhaps some of the collage miniatures are more “successful” than others, but the point of this ritual (other than sharing joy with dear ones, of course) is granting free rein to an intuitive response. Exercising this capacity is at the heart of collage as a medium. How important it is to give the imagination a blank check and invest no concern in the lack of a preconceived approach! Choosing a simple pictorial theme conveniently jump-starts an experimental process. What follows is pure discovery.
 

29 collage greeting
cards by J A Dixon

variations on a
Christmas theme
2001 – 2016

A Heart for Jack Unruh

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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

The Puzzle

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

With my 31-day ritual of experimentation having come to a close, it’s time to catch up on a few other things that happened during the month of March. Here’s a birthday gift for my collage pal from Richmond, Kentucky, Robert Hugh Hunt:
 

Dixon_toRHH_Bday2016_

The Puzzle
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7.75 x 8.75 inches
birthday art for R H Hunt

Tender and Wild

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.”
– Stephen Sondhiem

I was in the “Seasonal Zone,” listening to music and making a batch of hand-made greetings and collage miniatures. I began to recycle Christmas cards from previous years, and I had the idea of trying to visually merge two different but similar images. Nothing seemed to go right as my technique played out. One cannot anticipate nor contrive the “fortunate accidents” inherent in the medium. The resulting effect reminds me of an aging fresco, as if an artist had painted a Madonna and Child over another, with the decay of time and weather taking over. I rarely think too much about these things in process, with reflection arriving later. I especially enjoy when others make observations and symbolic associations of their own. Overall, I think my sweet obsession with collage may be about trying to bring some kind of harmony out of the sense of disorder that pervades much of modern perception, although I should hesitate to generalize about my personal state of being and apply it to the world.

a Christmas collage experiment by John Andrew Dixon

Tender and Wild
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7 x 9.5 inches
private collection

Collage experiments as gift art

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

“Man himself is mute, and it is the image that speaks. For it is obvious that the image alone can keep pace with nature.”
— Boris Pasternak

I have come to the point where nearly all of my December gifts are hand-crafted items, many of which feature experimental images of one sort or another. Some end up being studies for larger works. Shown below are a couple of little artifacts that have resulted so far from my lead-up to the holidays — examples of how gift art can hover between descriptive categories. Both are more than greeting-card covers, but not advanced enough to be called true collage miniatures. Intrinsic value is always a matter of opinion, but, at any rate, people usually appreciate being invited into the artistic process.
 
collage artifact by John Andrew Dixon  collage artifact by John Andrew Dixon

two small, year-end gifts
collage artifacts by J A Dixon
(click to view larger)

The Mind of FRON

Monday, August 10th, 2015

 
The Mind Of Fron ~ J A Dixon

The Mind of FRON
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7 x 9 inches
collection of J L Dixon

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

Selective Fusion

Monday, July 13th, 2015

“Schwitters subjected his bits of flotsam to an organizing principle resembling the vertical scaffolding of Analytic Cubism, thus transforming the diverse components into formal elements.”
— Nancy Spector

Color and composition may be the most common denominators of all visual art. Collage, by its nature, relies on a combination of separate, often disparate elements, and those two fundamentals generally play a more prominent role in the finished effect, but that does not make collage essentially a category of abstraction. A minimalist concept built on a provocative juxtaposition or image insertion can be a predominantly figurative or representational approach, even if symbolic or surreal ideas are introduced. On the other hand, collage artworks rooted in the seminal innovations of Kurt Schwitters pay primary tribute to a tradition of abstraction now more than a century old. Of course, the medium had other early pioneers, but it is difficult to imagine the trajectory that collage might have taken without his towering influence. Personally, I have no qualms about continuing to respectfully mine the rich vein of creative ore he helped to expose. Whether it proves to be a nonrenewable resource has yet to be shown.
 

Selective Fusion ~ John Andrew Dixon, collage artist

Selective Fusion
collage on structured panel by J A Dixon
13.375 x 11.75 inches
not for sale

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

WYOMING
by Brendan Adkins

Leonard and I were in Wyoming just long enough to stop for gas off the Laramie exit.

The Vagina Monologues was my second college play, and The Laramie Project the second-to-last. They were the only times that I felt meaningful, in drama, loud and bright and kicking teeth. Every acting student in this decade has had those feelings about those plays. That doesn’t reduce their significance.

Laramie was an offhand pilgrimage, a place to throw the ashes of a twelve-year dream. I was done with acting. I’d begun to write.

Leaving, I bought a local newspaper: the Boomerang.

WYOMING is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

 

The Boomerang ~ J A Dixon

The Boomerang
collage miniature by J A Dixon, 4 x 5 inches
inspired by WYOMING
(Ommatidia, Thursday, January 26, 2006)
collection of B C Adkins