|THE OPENING is all about delving into the fascinating, quirky and wonderful visual arts in Vancouver. Each week we’ll feature an artist, cover an exhibition, discuss a lecture and everything else in-between to delve deep into who and what makes art happen!|
WORDS: ELLIAT ALBRECHT
In mid-May, Vancouver musician, designer, and artist Andy Dixon and I had a beer at The Whip down the street from his studio on Main to discuss art, luxury and his new body of work. Andy’s recent paintings are characterized by their bright, bold colours, expressive line and surprising subject matter; his intricate images are of lords, lounging beauties and exotic pets depicted in energetic and man-made hues. Primarily oil and pastel on canvas, Dixon’s large-scale works have recently garnered a great deal of well-deserved attention in Vancouver and abroad.
His work is currently featured in a group show with Jen Osborne and Jessica Bell titled The Diarist, The Commentator and the Seer at Initial Gallery at 2339 Granville Street.
Elliat Albrecht: Tell me about your new work.
Andy Dixon: I’ve really only gotten a very small chance to show any of the new work I’ve been doing. I feel like I’ve made a turn and focused my content quite a bit, and now I have a much sharper idea of what I want to do.
EA: What sparked the change?
AD: A few things happened a couple of years ago: one was that I did some soul searching. I stopped everything for about a year. I quit music and painting; I got a job in a design firm. I started to feel like I was making things out of habit rather than because I had something to say. Everything I was doing was just because people were like “Hey, what’s next?” and I was like “Oh I don’t know, how about this?” So I went through a crisis, but it was a good one. I chose between fine art and music. Once I decided on fine art, the next step was thinking about what it was that I wanted to paint. Really, I haven’t shown any of the work I’ve done since then. I spent a year just sketching, trying different things, refining.
EA: Have you figured out what it is you want to do?
AD: I think everyone’s always just trying to figure things out as they go along. I’m a process-based artist whether it’s music, design or anything. I think that part of my thing is to reveal process, and part of that process is simply figuring out what I’m doing. Up until that point two years ago I did half-abstract or fully abstract works. I felt like I was casting the net too wide and I made a few real choices in my life. One of those was if I was going to make figurative or abstract paintings.
EA: What made you choose figurative?
AD: Mostly intuition, I think. Also just because I liked the result of this exercise I tried that was really influenced by Twombly. I tried using his mark-making techniques to make abstract work and sort of choreographed them to represent the figure. I ended up really liking how it looked.