Artists Collages Local Landscapes

ST. MARY — Jane Dippold sees this part of Ohio as beautiful country, and tonight, when her art exhibition opens at Arts Center in St. Marys, she will invite others to see the familiar countryside through her eyes.

Roughly two years ago Dippold started capturing specific places in Auglaize and Mercer counties and collaging them.

“I’m not interested in creating imagined places. I want to represent a particular place,” she said.

Dippold had done some collaging before she started the landscapes.

“I was thinking of how pretty the landscape would look in collage, with all the textures. There’s grass, the barn, the way sky sometimes looks like torn paper, you know,” she said.

Dippold is a professional illustrator and artist with children’s books, greeting cards, and a host of other credits to her name; she lived in Cincinnati and returned to the area after having children.

She likes to drive around the area taking pictures to capture specific places in a specific moment or season or light.

“The landscape around here is just beautiful, well, except in dead of winter. Maybe someday I will think ‘oh I want to do an Italian landscape’ but not now. There’s variety when the seasons change.” she said.

Dippold studied Graphic Design at Miami University, and in her career as a freelance artist she said she’s always looking for a new direction, to try something different.

The nature of freelance work is that the workload fluctuates, so over the last few years, she said she has created the collage paintings in her downtime.

What’s nice, she said, is that she’s worked as commission illustrator so long, it’s been fun to explore the part of creating art that is about what inspires her personally.

“With commissions, you’re asked to solve a problem,” she said. “Actually illustrating is a little more pressure because (the customers) have to like it. At end of  a project or assignment, they have to like it. I don’t create a painting and wonder if someone’s going to like it. I create what I want, and if they all stay at my house, I’m still happy with that.”

Not worrying about a customer isn’t the usual way Dippold approaches her business however.

“I think a lot of people think of art as a hobby, but I approach it as a job. Every day I work at it. I work every day marketing, trying to find new clients, thinking about what will I be doing next year,” she said.

Many people think of arts careers as something to do part of the time, encouraging students to work a “regular” job because of the perception there aren’t jobs in the arts, but Dippold said that’s not what is true for her.

“My experience is, if you want to go into arts and treat as job, inevitably you will get better at it. But if you go in as a hobby, it will stay on the back burner. You need to commit yourself as a person, completely, like anything,” she said.

One of the big challenges with the internet, she said, is there’s a wealth of art a click away for anyone. She has her own website, in fact, and said there’s a lot of competition thanks to the internet.

“But good art still stands out. With technology, you just have to maybe, from here on out, not shy away from that. That’s not to say someone who paints in oils and paints pretty flowers can’t still be successful. Just like the people who make wood furniture the old way. But you have to say ‘this is what I’m going to do,’” she said.