MY NAME IS G. MATTHEW DIXON AND I AM AN ARTIST.
I have always had a love of art, from both spectator and creator perspectives. One of my earliest and fondest memories is of being a little boy and laying on the floor of my living room with my eldest sister, Cathy, and drawing out of a how-to book of cartoons. My love of drawing and art continued all throughout my childhood and into my high school years where I met my favorite and most influential teacher, my art teacher, Mrs. Jones who not only inspired me with her class, but also encouraged me to go to art school and make art my profession. Because of these two early influences, I decided to attend the Art Institute of Philadelphia, where I hoped to get my degree in illustration. Once I got there, however, I found that I had a knack for Graphic Design and computer graphics and quickly shifted my focus. While attending the Art Institute, I was exposed to several fantastic artists who continue to inspire me today.
Though my focus had shifted to Graphic Design as a profession, the urge to express myself through fine arts was always there. I have always kept a sketchbook and would oftentimes flirt with paints and colored pencil, but it wasn’t until recently the desire to create was rekindled due to two main reasons.
The main catalyst came as a result of an invitation of a good friend of mine to attend the inaugural session of the Dr. Sketchy’s South Jersey Chapter. Here I was given the opportunity to join a community of other local artists and draw live models. This also gave me a chance to associate once again with other “art-minded” people and gain valuable feedback and advice on my work.
The second catalyst came in the form of a Christmas present. I was given a starter set of oil paints (a new medium for me) and instantly fell in love again with color. I have since been re-exploring other mediums that I had taken for granted such as: acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, markers, pastels and ink to name just a few.
So why do I create art? Put quite simply… I do it because I must; I do not feel as though I have any choice. Good or bad, I feel a deep fire inside of me- a hunger- to create. Art helps me to feed this raging creative furnace I feel stoking within my chest. Art helps me to maintain my balance and allows me a place to channel my innermost thoughts and fears. If I go too long without expression, I feel as though I have an itch that I cannot scratch. It then seems like art starts to leak out of me in the most unexpected of places. Suddenly doodles pop up on bank statements, notes on future possible projects appear on post it notes on my bathroom mirror and I find myself sketching out ideas on napkins in my car while sitting at red lights. Art, quite simply, is part of who I am.
How can I describe my body of works? I feel like I am a musician trying to find his voice or his sound. Some days I feel like rock and roll. Some days I feel like classical music. Some days are Ella Fitzgerald and a cup of coffee. Other days it is heavy metal and vodka and Red Bull. It is hard to explain why I create what I create the way I create it. I cannot say that I feel as I belong to any particular school of art. I find several that I admire and feel drawn towards, such as New Gothic art, Outsider art, Surrealism, Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism. Each one of these contains elements that I find in my own work, however I don’t feel as though I can be snugly classified in any of them.
My art is about the journey I take to get to the “final” piece. Whereas the viewer is only seeing the one snapshot in time, the “final” moment when I have decided to no longer work on the piece any more, I see the piece as only an artist can- I see the whole. I hear again the music I was listening to. I feel the mood that I was in. I taste the coffee I was drinking. I smell the paints. This is also what I try to imagine when I look upon other’s art. How was Vincent feeling when painting “Sunflowers”? What kind of mood was Pollock in when he created “Number 1, 1950”? What music was playing when Lautrec painted “At the Moulin Rouge”? This is the nature of the artist’s journey. This is why I do what I do.
Thank you for joining me on my journey. In summary, plainly put, my name is G. Matthew Dixon. And I am an artist.