Q & A with Jed Dorsey

Washington Street, acrylic on canvas

Jed Dorsey grew up on Camano Island, WA.  There, surrounded by the lush visual beauty of pristine coastal mountains and sandy beaches, hidden lakes and tall cedars, Jed learned to love the world around him.  And because he was born into a very artistic family (four generations of artists), sketch pads and paint brushes were always within reach.  In fact, much of his artistic training has come from his father, a noted watercolor artist and teacher.  Jed has also studied oils and acrylics under Mike Svob and Robert Genn, both noted Canadian artists.    ---from the artist's website

City Gallery is happy to present Casting Shadows - the Unity of Light - new work by Jed Dorsey on display from November 2 through 30.  Dorsey, who now resides in the Holy Cross neighborhood, grew up in Washington State and moved to Indianapolis from Vancouver, BC.

1. When did you start painting? What drew you into painting?

Early... I don't know exactly how old I was.  But when I was in middle school our family had a small booth at the local fair that we called "The Dorsey Gallery", and I had a few small paintings in it.  When some parents of my friends started buying some of my paintings, I found a new passion for painting that I hadn't had before, but it was mostly about spending money at the fair.  It wasn't until I was in my twenties, and I realized my dream to become a rock & roll superstar were fading that I rediscovered art.  Renae and I were in Whistler, BC and I had just started dabbling in watercolors again, when through falling in love with some artwork at a gallery there, I was first introduced to the beauty of oils and acrylics.  That was the beginning of my art adventure.

2. How did coming from a family of artists influence you?

In more ways than I can probably list.  But being surrounded by paintbrushes and sketch pads surely must do something.  And my parents still influence me artistically.  Just the other day on Skype, my dad was trying to show me something from a new art book he was excited about.

3. Describe your training?

The only formal training I have is from workshops that I have taken from specific artists that I admired.  These are Robert Genn and Mike Svob, two amazing Canadian artists whose paintings were those in Whistler that first made me want to be an artist again, and Ovanes Berberian, whose workshop I attended with my dad in southern Idaho.  One night when we were there, from 9pm to midnight, Ovanes painted a still life as a demonstration for his students.  It was big (36x48) and beautiful (really, really amazing when you see it done in person), and the next morning we heard that one of the wealthier students had bought it... for $13,000!

4. In what medium are you working for your City Gallery exhibit?  Is this a     departure for you?

Acrylics.  No, this is what I most commonly work in.

The Alley Behind, acrylic on canvas

5. How would you describe the work?  Can you talk about how you prepared for this show and how you chose what you would paint?

In general, I try to paint the essentials without getting into unnecessary details.  This show focuses on how light brings unity and beauty to a diversity of subjects.  You'll see things that most people would never deem beautiful (garbage cans) and others that people often gaze at (Monument Circle).  The scenes are mostly from walks I have taken around the downtown area or where I live on the near eastside.

6. Talk about one of your favorite pieces from this body of work?

The one I'm hoping I will love the most is one that is not finished, so I can't talk about it, because if it doesn't turn out well, it won't be in the show, and then I would not be the only one who is disappointed.

7. What was it like, as someone who grew up in the northwest, doing place-based art in Indianapolis?

I have enjoyed it.  It has helped me appreciate the unique beauty of this city, with all of its hopes and dreams, sorrows and longings.  Indianapolis has many wonderful aspects, but the real beauty of this city is the people.  Now that I say it, I wish I had some artwork to reflect that!

Casting Shadows - the Unity of Light opens on Friday, November 2 from 6 to 9pm as part of the Harrison Center's First Friday event, Playing in the Streets.

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