New work by Jed Dorsey

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My Friend, My Brother

In the City Gallery, we show “place-based” art which tells the story of our Indianapolis urban neighborhoods.  Every month, a different artist inspires us with what they see and find in our city.  This month, Arsenal Heights resident, Jed Dorsey, returns to the City Gallery with rich impressions of urban Indy in Autumn.

Jed Dorsey comes from a family of artists.  “I represent the fourth generation of artists on my mom's side, and my dad also is a professional artist.  That means that I always had opportunities to practice art as a child. The first time I ever sold a painting was when our family had the "Dorsey Gallery" at the Stanwood/Camano Fair.  I was probably 11 or 12 years old.”  But Jed developed other interests as he grew, eventually coming to express his creativity primarily through music.  He didn’t touch a paintbrush again until 2001, when, on vacation with his wife, he wandered into a gallery in Whistler, British Columbia.   “I went back day after day to gaze at the beautiful artwork.  And I bought some acrylic paints.”  Jed finally began to paint again.  “I loved it.  And hated it.  I would look at these beautiful paintings and go back to our room and try to produce the same freshness and vibrancy. Usually after a few hours, I would be feeling alright about it until I went to compare my painting with those in the gallery.  Then the depression would hit.  I guess I thought I could just start off as a master painter.  My first painting ended up in the garbage can.”


Night Lights

Thank goodness he didn’t stop.  His current body of work features neighborhood streetscapes and Indianapolis icons, from the Monument on the circle to the Kennedy-King Memorial, a painting which Jed says was the most moving one for him to paint.   Some of these paintings flowed very quickly for him, and others required a lot of tweaking.  For “Last Light,” he re-painted some elements several times, working with the light and color again and again to try to capture what he saw.  Feeling frustrated, he eventually decided to paint over his work.  In a final attempt to salvage the piece, he tried rubbing off some of the paint instead of adding something new.  And it worked.  The softly lit painting of the canal is a show favorite.

“The truth is that not every painting turns out. I have learned over the years that if I really try for something, my effort will produce failure at some point.  But failure is not the end.  It can be the beginning of something new.  I learn something every time I paint.  And every day that I am married to Renae.  And every day I am a daddy to our daughter, Willow.  In all of life we need courage and perseverance - and that is the same in art.  Sometimes it is courage to start and perseverance to start over!”