Dewey James
Mixed Media

Dewey’s artistic trajectory is ever-evolving. In her words, “I like telling a story that doesn’t have an ending.” As a theater major at the University of Minnesota she auditioned against hundreds of performers and won a leading role in the once Broadway musical, Godspell, at the Chimera Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. But reality soon sunk in. “The thought of performing not just once, but six-days a week for months, well, I thought I’d go mad.” She quickly jettisoned the part. “I started doing batik, and painting watercolor and acrylic.” She also found a supper-club gig, singing folk-rock classics with a guitarist friend. “$500, five nights a week.” she said. “I was raising my daughter at the time.” The work was stable and the song list flexible but the monotony of performing wore her down once more.

In France, she lived in Saint Victor la Coste with other artisans and stone masons. Her studio was the highest room in the village and she looked down on communal vineyards, rooftops and an idyllic countryside. She picked grapes for a local vigneron and participated in festivals and events, integrating quickly into the village’s easy-going and accepting lifestyle. Her stone restoration work was physical and hand-hardening and the aesthetics of medieval ruin-building were rewarding but once again, Dewey’s mental artistic landscape was changing. “I really wanted to do dimensional work but I didn’t think I had the talent for sculpture,” she quipped. So, after her fifteenth year of treading castle gates and hand-tinting photography, she stayed put in Minneapolis, met her husband and began creating mixed-media artwork.

“This latest iteration allows me to express myself more than any other direction I’ve ever done. I like it when my work provokes curiosity and creates conversation.” Selling would be a plus, too, she adds with a smile. As with her previous work, her bold colors and effortless graphic sensibility is classic Dewey. For some of her pieces, she works sentimental, iconic middle-America imagery such as Ferris Wheels and Tilt-a-Whirls with vibrant swashes and patterned backgrounds or in others she might evoke a cryptic glance from a mystic jackrabbit sitting in a cloud of multicolored fireflies.

It seems her artistic odyssey has delivered a winner as her compositions and “floating” technique quickly found success, not only regionally but around the country. She has collected six Best In Show Awards: Madison Art Fair on the Square, Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis, Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Minneapolis, Chastain Park Arts Festival, Atlanta, Kohler Midsummer Festival in Sheboygan, IL and Bucktown Art Fair in Chicago.

She has won Best in Category three times: Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Glencoe Festival of Art, Glancoe, IL and Art in Bayfront Park, Duluth, MN. She has won Finalist in Category: Uptown Art Fair and First Place: Lakeview East Festival for the Arts in Chicago. She has also been chosen as the Commemorative/Featured artist four times: Uptown Art Fair, Chastain Park Arts Festival, Edina Art Fair in Edina, MN, and Lakeview East Festival For The Arts. Other awards are two for Excellence in Innovation: Barrington Art Fair and Port Clinton Art Fair and four Awards of Excellence: Lake Forest Art Fair on the Square, Naperville River Walk, Edina Art Fair and College Hill Art Festival and Dewey has also received the Lisa Baruch Memorial Award at the Port Clinton Art Fair in Highland Park, IL.

Dewey’s market is scattered around the country but her home and studio is in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Her pieces have been displayed in restaurants such as Haute Dish in Minneapolis and Uncommon Ground in Chicago. She was featured on KSTP Morning News, Food Vs. Art, and also featured in articles by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Fox News.