Sandra Dawson’ mixed media paintings use symbols, icons and mythological elements layered on beautiful colorful backgrounds. They draw the viewer into another world. Find more of her work on her website.
I grew up with five siblings, three of which I shared a bedroom with, so in my spare time, I explored private spaces throughout my house in search of quiet. During these moments I enjoyed reading and looking through books and magazines, writing and drawing.
Images were strong and powerful teachers for me, from photos of the Vietnam War to my parent’s art books, and I spent endless hours in this manner.
I didn’t seriously consider painting as a profession until I went to my first college and was mentored by a compassionate art teacher who encouraged pure expression and free thought.
After receiving my BFA from the University of Illinois in Chicago, I began teaching and painting professionally. I taught in The Chicago public schools and was struck by the unjust distribution of tax dollars determined by the location of the school.
I painted about this subject and integrated it with my love of graffiti, childlike drawings, my dreams and life experiences, interweaving the dark with the light. I painted of pain and love, loss and renewal, betrayal and hope.
A desire for truth and self-awareness became a common thread throughout my career. As the years have passed, I have explored various styles, techniques and subject matter, continuing to pursue this concept in my work.
I love working with mixed media and integrate a wide range of materials within a piece, frugally but spontaneously. I have worked with twine, glass beads, sequins, Xerox images, collage, transfers and encaustic.
The process is continuously fascinating. I am never bored because there is no ending to what a painter can learn and express.
Everything inspires me, from a mark on the sidewalk to a life event.
Inspiration is never a problem, time is the issue. I never feel satisfied when I finish a piece, because there is always more to express and never enough time.
To me, making art is about magic. It’s about alchemy, science, philosophy, love and life.