“Don’t give up on your dreams. If you go for what your dreams are, you get to have a good time.” Eric Dixon was just about to give up when he got his break in 2013. Before he got into Beehive Studios in downtown Raleigh, he was ready to throw in the towel on a dream that had started when he was six years old. And he wasn’t going to show up to the event that day, but a friend had talked him into it. Before he even got there, Eric had sold two or three pieces, which he’d never done before — not even a single piece had sold. Shortly after, he joined Raw Artists Raleigh and has been doing back-to-back shows ever since. Now, he’s dreaming big.
Currently, Eric is focusing on his merchandise design with Oak City Hustle. Intertwining his own passion for BMX and skating, skate decks are his big project. Five years ago, he went to a skate shop with his cousin and was, of course, drawn towards the artwork. He noticed that most of the decks were generic logos with little creative license. He knew he could do better, so he began to create his own. By the end of the year, Eric had 180 skate deck designs. He’s looking to release his designs for OCH by March or April of next year.
As our featured artist, Eric also designed this issue’s cover. In true artistic fashion, each piece of his design was intentional. He aims to recognize the people and places that have supported him throughout his career. The “S” on her left arm is a symbol for Dixon’s aunt who recently passed away. Although we could easily guess that the acorn is for Oak City, Dixon pays tribute to the other places he’s called home (check out the “W” and “PC” on her right shoulder). Eric also snuck in a bunny rabbit and an elephant for his grandpa and grandma, respectively. By letting us in on his secrets, we gain an insight into both his imagination and inspiration as an artist. When I asked to learn more, Eric brought me back to a place we all wish we could go — high school.
John Steinbeck wrote that: “The only good writer was a dead writer. Then he couldn’t surprise anyone any more.” In high school, Eric Dixon was told the same thing about becoming an artist. People will only appreciate your work if you die — or if you become an art teacher. Steinbeck disagreed with this idea, suggesting that its origin comes from a discomfort with conflict. For Dixon, his conflict began with limitations. In school, he was taught to draw from life instead of from his imagination: “I don’t believe in that. If you’re an artist, there are no boundaries about what you can and can’t do.” Eventually, Eric hopes to bring his own mentality into the classroom. He wants to teach middle and high school students how to use art to channel and express feelings in a positive light. In pursuing his own artistic career first, he aims to provide his future students with firsthand experience about how to successfully persevere as an artist.