Studio visits are like nirvana for me. Better than shopping, better than sitting on a beautiful beach drinking a pina colada, better than chocolate even. It’s ultimately the most inspiring thing I can think of doing. Don’t think I’ve ever been on one I hated. Or even disliked.
Recently I traveled to Colorado with my family and we were invited to visit the studio of Amy Dixon. She not only has one great home studio but two. She’s living right. The thing is… I’ve represented Amy’s work for over 12 years and I never really got the whole story on how she got started making art. It’s a doozey, but first I’ll help you with some things not to at a studio visit.
- Don’t touch the art, unless you are invited
- Don’t critique the art or try to explain it to the artist
- Don’t say “I can’t even draw a stick line”
- Don’t go on and on about your great Aunt Edna who paints
- Don’t offer less than full price, it’s just plain insulting to the artist who has graciously invited you your to their special place.
Back to Amy now… so my husband asked her how she got her start and she told us this amazing story about her mother loaning her three months of rent so she could be painter. This was after receiving an art degree at Tulane, a year of art school in Italy and a stint as a merchandise manager at the world’s fair in New Orleans. Amy had a booth at the Dallas Apparel Mart, showing big white shirts that she had painted on and came home with $30,000 in orders and no money to make the pieces. So she went to the bank and they gave her a $10,000 loan on her 1097 Impala (as collateral) and she went to work. From there it progressed to painting on canvas, selling through galleries and the rest is history of her “overnight success”. (Ha, nothing is overnight. But she is surely a successful artist).
I was fascinated by all the fabulous finds in her studio, from the old LP record albums she has painted on, to the stacks of children’s books that will be used as parts in a flag painting. There were interesting objects and supplies everywhere, big gnarly brushes, lots of trays of every paint color under the rainbow and the cut up strips of old paper billboards – ready and waiting for their place “in the spotlight” in the next Amy creation. Lots and lots of books – everywhere and lots of art by herself and other artists all over her home. And then there’s the back of the bathroom door where everyone is invited to leave a note in sharpie. Magical. Thanks Amy for a terrific visit.