Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dixie Olin and Her Art For Bikers

You meet the coolest people when you take a leap of faith and ask them if they'd be interested in sharing who they are through an interview. Dixie Olin loves Bikers and loves to paint Bikers. How cool is that!?! Meet Dixie Olin, Biker Artist!

I am a Michigan artist living in Grand Rapids with my youngest daughter Devin and my significant other(such a weird term) Fred Houseman. Maybe we could just list Fred as the best man I've ever known.

I do not currently own a motorcycle. I am working on developing a custom bike with some of the builders I have met, still a dream, but I know it will happen.

I first rode with my ex-husband, he had an old yellow 80's AMF Harley, "Old Yeller" We had a lot of good times with that bike, although I don't miss the little black streak I had down the back of everything I rode in because the darn thing leaked oil on the chain without fail. I have had the chance to ride with other people over the last few years, always loved it. Some of the best times I had were on the back of a friends Screaming Eagle Road King, that thing could fly! Great trips to the UP of Michigan and out to Sturgis, I have had the chance to meet many great people and see some beautiful country during those times.

My website is Art For Bikers.

I studied painting with a variety of wonderful instructors, but have no "formal training". I worked toward learning to paint portraits with the thought that bikers are so "tribal" :) The leather, the patches and chains, more interesting faces than you would ever see at a fashion show, a treasure of subject matter, not to mention the challenge of painting chrome on a lot of black on black! Life had other ideas, I became a mom and ended up riding less and painting a lot of kids portraits! Good times, but now the kids are grown and it's time for mom to have some fun.

When did I start painting bikers? I don't know exactly when, but "The General" was one of the first portraits I did, he is the most recognized rider in this state. That portrait and one called "Presence of Order" both images were from photos from our biggest "Blessing of the Bikes" in Baldwin, MI. If you look at the chrome in " Presence of Order" and compare it to the chrome I paint now, I believe you can see some growth in the process.

People can view my work at various bike events, my website will be adding a calendar I am always at the Blessing in Baldwin, but not to paint, to take photos. Prints of my work as well as some originals can be seen at Teazer's Bar in Grand Rapids. I am always at ChopperFest in Martin, MI in July. At the spring and fall custom bike shows in Otsego, MI with Davidson Express. The MDA Black and Blue Ball for West Michigan, Fox 17 Ride for Babies, and will be at The Ride to Hell and Back this year in Hell, MI

"Hanging with Friends" is my most popular image. I think it is because it doesn't matter what you ride and the fact it is about friends and friendship, hanging out together, sticking together when times are tough. Faithfulness, love of country represented by the flag on one of the jackets. It reminds me of a run with good friends, the first run of spring and good, good times. I don't have a favorite painting, they are all my favorites and each new one brings new excitement, new friends. Everyone is so passionate about what they ride, and their own experience, it carries over to the work and makes it for wonderful paintings.

I can not think of a motto I live by, but I have always told my daughters that they make me rich and they still do.

I have had many great teachers as well as support from family and friends. After my divorce someone said to me "If you were a responsible mom you would quit this painting thing and get a factory job with health insurance." My girls cried and told me that they would eat peanut butter and jelly, but that I had to paint, it was who I was. I have had many side jobs from bartender to landscaper but I never quit painting. It is still what I want to do when I grow up!:)

Mentors and people who inspire? My mom, she encouraged me to paint, she would get me paint by numbers when I was a kid and then I would get in trouble for painting under the sheets with a flashlight at night. I would start a painting and could not stop until it was done. She took me to her art classes when I was 8 or 9 and they would give me paint just to keep me out of their hair!:0) She wall papered a wall downstairs with Saturday Evening Post Magazine covers, they were all Norman Rockwell paintings. From the floor to the ceiling I could look at all those wonderful paintings of regular people as well as the famous, I think you can see his influence in my work, at least I would be honored if you could!

What makes a biker? LOL I've heard "regular" friends who call their parents Mr. and Mrs. a biker friend calls them mom and dad. I have a love of bikers in general, they are like my family. There have been times I have felt very alone in the universe, my bikers friends said, we don't care if you have a bike to ride anymore, we love you just the way you are. I have many paintings that are from The Blessing of the Bikes in Baldwin, MI, that is just one example of bikers getting together and raising money for people who are in need. That event raises enough money to feed 3 county food banks for the year. The bikers just showed up to be blessed and then they take a little putt around the neighborhood and ask nothing in return.

Everyone want to know a crazy story from being on the road, the really crazy ones I can't tell! A cute one is from an painting I did of a man and his granddaughter on his bike. I finished it and quite often the name of the painting is one of the hardest things. I thought about Grandpa's girl, but how boring! I called the gal and asked if they had special names for each other......"Oh yes, he is Poppa Harley" cute I thought........."and she is Dammit!" I was pleasantly surprised, she told me that he calls her Dammit and he has her picture and name tattooed on his arm!:) So the image is now called Poppa Harley and Dammit.

I am always looking for the next painting. Commissions are very welcome. People can find me through the web-site. I can work with their photos or take them for the painting. I can change backgrounds, put you in Vegas or in front of the Mackinaw Bridge. I can usually look at a photo and tell if it will work for a painting. It is hard to give a price, each piece is one of a kind, but I can look at the photo and start a conversation about price, I will let you know what it is before I start the piece. It makes a future heirloom! A down payment starts the process and you can make payments. My daughter came up with ArtForBikers..........capturing the ride you can't forget!

Thank you so much Dixie for sharing your art and thoughts with us. You definitely have a love for Bikers!

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