May 11, 2017
When most people think of art and spirituality, they think of religious art. But what if there was a more subtle approach to art and spirituality that subverts the more common public expectations? Dozier Bell creates wonderful works of art that often convey a sense of “Presence.” She doesn’t feel the need to overtly draw the viewer's attention to the concept of God, rather she creates in a way that resonates with her spiritual experience and the way she sees the world. Once you get the chance to see Dozier’s artwork you will get a feel for the concept that she tries to convey, make sure to view some selections of her work at the end of this post.
Have you ever wanted to travel to a new location and get rooted into a new culture? Imagine the impact that would have on your worldview and artistic development. Dozier Bell had always wanted to spend time abroad expanding her skills and knowledge along with her creative pursuits. She finally got the chance when she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and traveled to Germany in the mid 90’s. This experience had a profound impact on Dozier. She spoke at length with me about what it was like fitting into a new environment and gaining new creative inspirations along the way. This also happened to be the time in Dozier’s life where she taped into an exploration of art and spirituality.
The most beautiful aspect of art can be described as expressing through images what cannot be expressed through words. This is the wonderful and mysterious space of creative expression. Artist Dozier Bell revels in this sense of wonder and mystery. In fact, she believes these aspects of mystery and wonder are fading in an art world that increasingly trains students to have an articulated answer to what they’ve created. Dozier encourages artists to connect or reconnect to that sense of mystery, to truly explore it and resist the urge to define and quantify it.
One of the most difficult things to do as an artist is to find your “Voice.” You can learn many different techniques and find yourself influenced by other artists, but at the end of the day, you need to discover your unique artistic voice. Dozier Bell recounts an episode from her time in graduate school where she struggled to clarify what her voice would become. She talks about how grateful she is to a mentor who helped her see that she was spending time going in the wrong direction creatively. Dozier’s thoughts and insights into what it means to find your voice as an artist are very authentic and relatable, it was a pleasure to have such a candid conversation with her.
Just as many writers tackle “Writer’s block” in different ways, various painters have their own methods to deal with “Painter’s block.” Some find it helpful to get an external perspective, while others find it helpful to plot away and stay faithful to the process, and others still consume a lot of chocolate. Artist Dozier Bell recently faced her own episode of painter’s block and she took the time to discuss that experience with me in our conversation. If you’ve struggled with this experience in the past, you might find our conversation encouraging and helpful.