We had the good fortune of connecting with Maura Dixon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maura, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
By far the most important thing is staying true to myself and my style. It has been a long and difficult journey developing my style and allowing myself to tell my stories through my artwork. Now that I have developed a unique style and voice, I can produce work that I am happy with, that shows the skills I’ve learned through my education and continuous drawing practice. If my work didn’t mean something to me, it would not be worth all the hard work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create work that speaks to the hardships of growing and becoming. I combine a bit of realism and illustrative styles to create my own surrealist comic style. My work features my own self and experiences, while incorporates a lot of relatable experiences and symbols to create a connection with the viewer. I am extremely excited to be starting my graduate program this summer to receive my MFA in comic art at CCA. This is a huge success for me, while also being a huge financial risk. Finances have always been a concern, but I am confident in myself and my work. I have always been ambitious and somewhat impulsive; these two characteristics have been my virtue and my vice. I am hoping that taking this risk to earn my MFA degree and learn about making comics, it will pay itself off in the long run. It has taken a lot of hard work and trust to get to the place I am today. I constantly am learning to trust myself and my decisions, and learn to roll with the punches and solve my problems as they arise. After all, the main thing you learn as a drawing major is that drawing is problem-solving. After 5 years of drawing at ASU, I can confidently say I am an expert problem solver haha! I want the world to know that choosing an artistic career path is NOT easy! Although artists sometimes have a bad rap for being lazy and the work is too easy, let it be known that I have battled TOO MUCH self-doubt to allow our reputation to have such a negative light! Being an artist is such a rewarding and humbling career path, and every single artist out there has uncovered a part of themselves that non-creatives cannot. Art is hard and coming up with new creative ideas is not easy! That being said, even if you are not an artist, get creative!! Having a creative outlet does wonders for self-discovery and becoming comfortable with yourself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, I love this question! Here is my ideal week in Phoenix/Tempe: MONDAY: Start off your week with an oat milk chai at Lux Central in Phoenix and you will automatically have an amazing week. (all of their drinks and food are amazing though) TUESDAY: I’m going to assume it’s the second Tuesday of the month so it’s free entry at the Desert Botanical Garden! It’s Taco Tuesday!!! Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Mill Ave. in Tempe has amazing frozen margaritas and great Mexican food at a discount. WEDNESDAY: 1$ drinks at The Vine in Tempe! When school is in session this can get a little hectic so if you’re not one for crowds maybe this isn’t for you. Students get free entry into the Phoenix Art Museum on Wednesdays too! THURSDAY: Casey Moores! This bar is known by all in Tempe. Amazing food and great drinks so head here for dinner and drinks. Thursday also has a good happy hour for discounts FRIDAY: First Friday! Downtown Phoenix has a lot of cool stuff going on the first Friday of every month. The Phoenix Art Museum is also free entry! SATURDAY: The Farm at South Mountain is one of my favorite relaxing weekend spots. You can grab breakfast or lunch here and enjoy the views on the farm and of the mountain. Everything is grown and made right there on the farm! SUNDAY: Brunch!! Go to Snooze in Tempe for the best breakfast in town.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Firstly, I have to give a big shout-out to my family. A lot of my work is influenced by my upbringing and growth in my childhood home. Overall though, my college professors have been huge factors in my growth as a budding professional artist. While studying at ASU, I felt behind and a bit lost when I had first started, coming from a small midwestern town in Ohio with very little art education under my belt. It wasn’t until my 3rd year at ASU when I took a class from the illustration professor, Turner G. Davis, that I allowed myself to own the illustrative style I was comfortable with. Because of what I was learning and what my peers were creating, I always felt pressured into doing work that was fit for a stereotypical gallery and showcased technical skill. Turner pushed me to tell my story and allow the viewer to step inside my head. In order to do this, I had to break down the walls I had created and learned to “not care” about what my peers or professors may have thought about my “cartoony” style. This mentality changed the game for me, and luckily my professors and peers responded with admiration; specifically, my drawing professor, Anthony Pessler. Anthony encouraged me to push myself and my creative practice every day and has taught me many tips and tricks of drawing that I still use today. Art is a community, and without the support and encouragement of my art peers, I would be completely lost!