Jeremy Dickinson, whose latest exhibition opens in San Francisco tomorrow and runs from 20 January to 25 February, is a British artist whose hallmark is a child-like delight in vibrant colours and dynamic shapes.
Dickinson was born in 1963 in Halifax, Yorkshire (a county allegedly part of England, but fiercely independent and defensive of its own peculiar heritage). He studied at York College of Arts and Technology and later at Goldsmith’s College, London – the city in which his first public exhibition took place in 1991 at the Whitechapel Open Studios.
In 1995 he illustrated The Aston Martin DB3S portfolio, published by Palawan Press (London) and five years later he was invited to co-design the Royal Mail’s Buses Stamps released on 15 May 2001. In between came exhibitions in Brussels, Darmstadt, Florence, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo as he began to climb the slippery ladder of international commercial success.
The basis of his work is a childhood collection of cars and buses which he arranges in stacks and patterns, carefully juxtaposing colours and viewpoints. Originally simple depictions of battered cars, trucks, and buses that have an unknown history, he made them more complex and evocative, at times introducing an idiosyncratic (if deliberate) sense of humour. Canvasses are quite likely to show an improbable pile of vehicles resting on one that is the wrong way up or a car vaulting like Eddy the Eagle over others randomly parked below.
Recent paintings have given the vehicles a personality of their own and his cars and trucks have become collaborators in the finished canvas. Writing in Classic and Sports Car (January 2009), Mick Walsh reported that family and friends send Dickinson toys for his collection, but that his best finds have been tatty items of no interest to specialist collectors. Dickinson told him:
“I’m always after strange colours. Some 1950s Dinkys such as the Austin Counties were released in weird two-tone schemes. I think the colour range was affected by the lead in the paint. I look for unusual toys, particularly French Dinkys, but the older stuff is getting hard to find.”
His most recent work continues to focus on his passion for transportation, whether it is the paintings of toy buses in miniature junkyards, shipping containers on a dockside, or larger scale works in which whole collections of vehicles are sorted into groups according to their country of origin or contrasting colours.
Jeremy Dickinson is an artist with an eye for meticulous detail, who knows where he is going and whose enthusiasm and passion are infectious. His latest wonderful exhibition can be found here. Catch it if you can!