Archive for May, 2015

Another donation request?

Monday, May 25th, 2015

“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!
 

Contemplation Ajar ~ John Andrew Dixon ~ collage artist ~ Danville, Kentucky

Contemplation Ajar
collage on structured panel by J A Dixon
20 x 15.75 inches
collection of J Wood

Gallery Hop Stop!

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

 
Gallery Hop Stop ~ June 4, 2015 

 

White space ain’t a negative thing.

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

“Life is trying things to see if they work.”
– Ray Bradbury

A familiar approach to collage makes use of elements positioned on a field, activating the “white space” with a typical figure/ground relationship. Often the working substrate is carefully selected for inherent visual interest or aesthetic qualities. Like a visage with character, a single piece of “ancient” stock can speak volumes on its own. There are many other ways for “negative space” to play a key part in collage artwork. For me, experimenting with small studies in my journal can suggest a different twist, with the potential for exploitation in a more finished composition.
 

Dixon_Untitled(IRA)

Untitled (IRA)
journal experiment by J A Dixon
4.375 x 4.25 inches

and another journal experiment . . .

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

 
another journal study by John A. Dixon — The Collage Miniaturist — Danville, Kentucky

Untitled (Equal)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
9.5 x 8.25 inches

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

Drawing out the unfulfilled possibility

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

“I am a great believer in the primacy of drawing as a means of engaging the world and understanding what you’re looking at.”
– Milton Glaser

“Why do you make collage artwork when you can draw?” People who broach the subject rarely come at it quite so directly, but even if they did, the question would not be any easier to answer. To begin with, I do indeed draw, and have since the dawn of memory, and I bring that ability to my work as an illustrator, portrait artist, watercolorist, and wood engraver. My enthusiasm for collage is rooted in something else — an impulse not entirely clear to me. I am grateful for all my talents, but I was educated and trained as a designer, and the practice has done more than enable me to create a life as an independent creative professional. It has become embedded in my consciousness. Decades of visual decisions have informed my responsive intuition. Collage is part design experimentation, part painterly expression, part artisanship, and part meditation. It is always a probing beyond expectations, an exploration of potentials, a harnessing of associations in flux. It can be the result of self assignment, but the most exciting effects often grow out of ritual. For me, it is never disconnected from what is taking form in my current journal. Not true artist’s sketchbooks (much as I have always hope they would evolve toward), they inevitably become a record of verbal and visual thoughts or non-thoughts. Some of my journal experiments combine techniques and mediums in ways that have not yet found manifestation outside their covers. Perhaps some day the question will be: “Why do you also draw in your collage artwork?”
 

Untitled (necklace) ~ another journal experiment by J A Dixon

Untitled (necklace)
journal experiment by J A Dixon
9.5 x 6.25 inches