Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at email@example.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I have been creating since childhood. I always liked to make things, draw and paint. This led to my getting a degree in fine art and a degree in art history from the University of Washington in the 1970’s. I mainly work with Asian ink and brushes on rice paper also known as sumi painting and I work with other mediums from time to time as the need or inspiration arises.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Working with Asian ink on rice paper or silk with the traditional brushes that are specially constructed to make particular marks is its own unique artistic expression. These brush marks became a fascination for me. An Asian painting of bamboo would be a classic example of the way these brush strokes look. The brush work can be applied to any subject matter calligraphy and abstraction. I use the brush and ink to convey a variety of subjects; mostly animals and landscapes with some somewhat abstract calligraphy. This art form is immediate with a lot of training behind it. There is no preliminary drawing done on the paper or silk. One cannot cover up the strokes with more ink. It either works or doesn’t and if it doesn’t, starting again is best because every stroke shows.
Tell us where your inspiration for your art comes from?
My inspiration comes to me from seeing and being in nature. The infinite creativity and diversity of the natural world is breath taking. The movement of a bird or a dancer, the texture of fur, feathers or the bark of a tree, the eight arms of an octopus, the jagged edges of mountains all fill me with wonder and the desire to create. Sumi painting is an art form that captures the essence of an image or idea. It makes a painting of an apple, for example, more than an apple in a particular place at a particular time of day. It makes it timeless. This timeless quality inspires me in itself.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best - nature, food, profiles etc?
Nature is my inexhaustible source of inspiration. It is the original creator from dinosaurs to hummingbirds. Who could think up an animal like a pangolin? Nature is amazing. It is always creating and and is always inspiring to me with ideas.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I love art so there are many works of art I find extremely special. For my own work, I have to like a piece first before it goes out into the world so while there are some paintings I like better than others, there isn’t just one painting or piece of art that is particularly special to me. This is also how I feel about other people’s artwork. I like a lot of different art forms from prehistoric to contemporary. The early cave paintings to Matisse, Renaissance realism to experimental installations all offer so much richness of expression.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Two experiences stand out to me in my life that had a profound effect on my art and on my world view. One was studying with George Tsutakawa and visiting calligraphers and painters from Japan while I was at the University of Washington. These instructors shaped my interest in Asian Art and painting with the Asian brushes and ink on rice paper. I studied Japanese painting and calligraphy at the University of Washington, then went to the People’s Republic of China to the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou to continue my studies in Asian brush and ink painting. This art form originated in China and spread to Japan and Korea and I wanted to study where it began. The second major influence was commercial fishing for salmon in SE Alaska just after college. This experience gave me a deep respect for all animals and plants, all species in fact, for themselves as they are in the world and as subject matter. Being in SE Alaska, working directly with the wild also confirmed me as an environmental conservationist because I could see what was still intact in SE Alaska that had been decimated in other more populated areas of the world. This realization went to the core of my being of what we had done and what was left. This interwove with the artwork I was already doing to express the dignity and wonder of life on this planet and the need to see it as it is and respect it for itself.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find it?
Currently “Food Art Collection” in Seattle has some of my work. It can be found by going online to: www.FoodArtCollection or Jeremy Buben at firstname.lastname@example.org 206-794-0971 420 13th Av E #101 Seattle, WA 98102 I also have pieces in the Washington State Arts Collection so these are displayed in public buildings in different locations throughout the state and can be found online by going to the Washington Arts Commission site and looking for my name. My website is www.angiedixonartist.com and by clicking on the images more will open.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
Currently I am working on two series. One uses Asian brush and ink painting in conjunction with Western art aesthetic in a more contemporary use of the medium. It is a series of birds and other animals using the ink and color on rice paper. The second series is on the abundance of the Northwest for an April show with Food Art Collection and is more traditional in its use of Asian brush and ink. I will have a show in April 2019 with Food Art Collection. Sharing sumi painting and what I have learned over the years is something I enjoy and am dedicated to doing so I teach classes and workshops at three art facilities in Seattle and Kirkland that are all wonderful places to go and create. While I teach different classes in sumi painting, all these facilities are run by dedicated and talented people who love art and offer a wide variety of classes in multiple art forms at reasonable prices to all ages and ability levels so people can sign up for art classes in many different media taught by great instructors. Pratt Fine Arts Center - An amazing place to make art and take classes.