Artist of the Month exhibition: Dion Hitchings, “Portraits on Recycled Trash”

Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" series continues with an exhibition of mixed-media portraiture by Milford, New Jersey-based artist Dion Hitchings, on view May 1 through 30. Admission is free, and the artist’s works are available for purchase.

Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, May 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Dion Hitchings, whose work has been featured in numerous group shows and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, creates artistically sophisticated works using what he calls “untraditional media” — various children’s art supplies including crayons, magic markers, highlighters and colored pens. He explains, “Using consumer boxes, discarded furniture and  ‘trash’ instead of traditional drawing surfaces has enabled me to break down pre-existing print, images and textures, while allowing the type and pictures from the recycled object to become organically part of the portrait. During the creative process, I discovered the need to deconstruct then reconstruct the face to fit within the shape of the surface. The results are portraits that have a shattered appearance with broken and missing pieces but also form a more powerful, interesting and often disturbing viewpoint.”

Hitchings’ inspirations are “varied and vast, everything from dreams and Indians, nuns and demons, the Jerry Springer Show and chickens to sins and celebrities.” He describes his art as reflecting his world: “Guaranteed to be colorful, self-revealing, emotional, childlike and an ‘eyefull.’”

Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, Hitchings says, “My mother found out she was pregnant with me two weeks after my father’s funeral. She always told me she found me under a rock. I took up drawing at age 3 and never put the crayons down.”

After graduating from Washington University in Saint Louis, Hitchings worked as a fashion illustrator, which led him to a successful career as a fashion advertising art director, though he never stopped drawing. After living and working in Chicago and New York City, tired of city living he and his longtime partner moved to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where he purchased his first home. But things changed within a four-year period.

“I lost my boyfriend of 23 years to a car accident. Lived through 9/11. And was laid off. My priorities changed, and what was important shifted. So I put the pieces back together, got a new job, met someone new, and after a trip to Kentuck Festival of Arts in Alabama, I realized I needed to draw again and try to fulfill my dream to be a full-time artist.”