Artist Spotlight: Staci Dickerson |

Artist Spotlight: Staci Dickerson

"Beatrice S. Hat" by Staci Dickerson won the People's Choice Award at the 37th Annual Valley Visual Arts Show.
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Carbondale Arts’ Valley Visual Art Show allows area artists an opportunity to exhibit their work each year. The show isn’t juried, but is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, it’s up to the audience to determine the best work on display. The annual People’s Choice Award winner receives $100 and two tickets to Green is the New Black, the Carbondale Arts fashion show held March 10 and 11. The show closed Feb. 17, and 288 people voted in the contest.

With 42 votes, this year’s winner is “Beatrice S. Hat” by Staci Dickerson, an employee of the organization. We spoke with Dickerson via email to learn more about her paintings.

Post Independent: Tell me more about “Beatrice S. Hat,” the piece that was named people’s choice at the recent Valley Visual Arts Show. Is this a portrait of someone you know? What is her significance?

Staci Dickerson: Beatrice S. Hat is the name a friend of mine uses as her Facebook personality. She posted this as a “selfie.” I instantly loved her inadvertent composition, lighting and the tonality of her self-portrait. I told her I was going to paint that picture.

The real human behind the fictitious Beatrice, is a strongly focused, principled, infinitely humorous and greatly intelligent woman.

PI: Has working for Carbondale Arts influenced your work or creativity in any way?

SD: Indeed it has. Being immersed on a regular basis with visual, installation and performance art is so stimulating and inspiring, as is the world of helping motivate an active, energized creative community. I have a rich opportunity to study museum-quality art nearly every day of the week. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet fellow artists, connect with them, learn about their process and their lives. I get to know the artist and know their art. All of this influences my own work and process as I appreciate the struggle, the commitment, the journey and the sacrifices we make to make art. This is priceless.

PI: I know you came to art as an adult. What prompted you to enroll in that first drawing class? How would you say you’ve evolved as an artist since?

SD: I enrolled in that first drawing class to distract me from a difficult divorce. I needed something to help my crazy mind to stay in the present moment. I needed something meaningful to connect to. Drawing was so accessible, so measurable with instant feedback. I could examine my drawings and start to discern successes and failures. I began to pay attention, I began to see.

My evolution has been slow and steady — as is the case with evolution. I look not so much as to where I’ve been and where I will go but rather, I marvel at the small, incremental developments that I oft times just stumble upon. As I’ve “evolved,” I find I consistently ask myself questions about my purpose, my work. Am I to simply reproduce beauty, or shall I try and express something deeper inside of me? Excavating my elusive and mysterious inner life seems to be a driving force for the past six or seven years. I have developed an innate desire to incorporate the veiled invisibility of sacred geometry; the Fibonacci sequence in particular, a hidden geometric constant in all the world, can be found integrated into my work. I am just happy that I get to keep investigating, learning and building upon the experiences of past and present.

PI: You’ve said that you build art layer by layer, as time allows. Does your expectation or idea of what you’re creating change as you re-approach a piece multiple times?

SD: Good question.

I feel my relationship deepens with the piece when I return to it over time. My studio is in my house, in the room next to my bedroom. When a painting gets started, I can feel it in the room next door. I think about it and look at it many times during the day and night before the next application. This process starts to help me connect to the artwork. It kinda speaks to me then, if that makes any sense. I kinda get to know what to do next. Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, but I love it when it does. It definitely happened with Beatrice.

PI: Where can we see your work?

SD: My work is primarily in my home — home gallery I’ll call it! I do not have a website, although I am working on putting all of my work into an album on my Facebook page. Trouble is, I have images on three different computers. Oh, the marketing struggles of an artist.

I will be in a contemporary landscape show at the end of May at the Aspen Chapel Gallery, and waiting for confirmation from a few juried shows coming up.

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