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Art & Life with Andrew Dickson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Dickson.

Andrew, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Early influences were vital for me, as a child growing up in Pomona my family always welcomed a unique group of individuals into our home and to our dinner table: firefighters and musicians (my grandfather was a LA fire capitan and a member of an LA City Fire Department jazz band), scientists, two of our next door neighbors were Cal State professors specializing in botany and herpetology, and also artists like Milford Zornes and Joella Mahoney, both noteworthy landscape painters. The lively conversations, friendships and interactions with these individuals in our home opened my mind to many different interests, ideas and possibilities.

It was also important for me to discover what I was truly passionate about and well suited for. For over ten years I pursed different career paths outside of the visual arts. During these times, I often felt a little out of place, that there was something more for me. On any given day, I would find myself taking a few moments to simply observe and contemplate the visual beauty in the world that surrounded me. I have found that visual artists have the ability to sit for hours uninterrupted, observing, considering and making their works – not everyone has the desire or capacity for this kind of sustained introspective focus. These small clues along with encouragement from family and friends awakened an artistic desire and eventually brought me to a point of decision to pursue art as a career.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
In the genre of landscape painting people are often conditioned to think of iconic places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or California a coastal scene as appropriate subject matter. I believe that visual eloquence often resides in places and things that are ordinary and easily overlooked. For this reason, I have spent a lot of time painting in locations like the Port of Long Beach, The LA River, the Salton Sea (I have a home on the North Shore of the Sea) and even my own backyard. My motive is not to prove a point or to rebel against traditional subjects in painting, but I genuinely sense beauty in just about every place I encounter and want to pursue this impulse whenever it gets a hold of me.

My paintings and drawings are either developed entirely location in the landscape, or completed in the studio from sketchbook studies and my imagination. One approach is more objective, truthfully painting what I see, and the other (studio work) more subjective, allowing more of my own creative decisions to influence the work. I don’t use photography as a reference source for any of my paintings as I value my actual visual experiences in front of the subject. I often experiment with different drawing and painting media (pastel, charcoal, gouache, watercolor, oil) which open up different possibilities for expression.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
At one point a few months back I was looking at an image of painting by a famous Russian artist Zinaida Serebryakova. I remember thinking to myself how amazing it was that I never tired of seeing her work and how it always revealed something new to me and carried so much emotion. Then I thought of how many major motion pictures I had seen that I would never care to see again. Films that had a been created by a massive multi-million-dollar industry that employed the very best artists and technicians of our time, yet in the end, many of these films seemed vapid and could not hold my interest nearly as much as single quiet painting done by this one individual. This made me realize that painting can offer something truly unique in our time. A great painting is packed with accumulated human experiences, ideas and feelings translated into shape and color in a unique arrangement by the human hand, and the best of these works seem to have the ability to reveal more and more of themselves to us slowly through time and reflection. It seems today that many people have lost the ability to slow down and engage visually, to contemplate. Ironically, this is happening in a time where we are more saturated with man-made imagery than ever before. I believe that the way in which we typically view images (through a cursory glance, quickly scanning from one image to the next) may be contributing to a lack of depth in visual perception. Art forms like painting require people to slow down in order to truly connect with them, and this manner of seeing and art making, may have the ability to revive a rich aspect of human perception that seems to be neglected in our time.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support? 
People can view my work on my website www.andrewdicksonartist.com I also exhibit my work regularly often in the Los Angeles area. Information can be found on my website.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 3635 Olive Ave Long Beach, CA 90807
  • Website: andrewdicksonartist.com
  • Phone: 8319-9175264
  • Email: adickson@fullerton.edu
  • Instagram: andydicksonart

Image Credit:
Andrew Dickson

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