Winner of the Face-Off Competition
22 June 2018
“I’m delighted to congratulate the winner of the Face-Off Competition, Dan Dickens, whose item brought back from Jakarta was chosen by Bedwyr Williams. I’m excited to see how Bedwyr incorporates it into his artwork and we’ll all be able to see the results very soon.” – Julien Parsons, Senior Collections Officer.
The Face-Off Competition
Dan Dickens has successfully faced-off the competition! His object was selected by Bedwyr Williams and declared the winner. Dan’s object was professionally photographed and will now take pride of place within Bedwyr’s artwork. Dan has been invited to attend a private view of the work and will have the opportunity to meet Bedwyr himself.
The Face-Off Competition was held by RAMM as part of RAMM’s 150th anniversary celebrations. RAMM commissioned artwork from the internationally-renowned artist Bedwyr Williams, which will see him populate the Queen St. foyer with an array of faces found on artefacts in RAMM’s collection. His video will also incorporate the faces, set within the context of Exeter and the museum’s history which will be on display in the Cafe at RAMM. The competition invited visitors to submit objects in their own homes which had faces; beautiful, scary, ugly, abstract or anything they found interesting.
For more information about the Bedwyr Williams art commission click here.
Face to face with Dan Dickens
First of all, congratulations on winning! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a happy go lucky charming chappy, and I want the best for everyone. I studied art in London and started my career as a printmaker which enabled me to do lots of travelling. I was a consultant in a company which had lots of old printing plates. Publishing the plates took me all over the world, which I did for a long time. I had two wages, there was subsistence for travelling on top of my salary so I was quite a rich man for a while!
Due to my art training I have done a lot of teaching in Exeter, at the University and the old art school here. Now I enjoy working on community projects. I’m currently an artist in residence at the Hospiscare South Street Shop which specialises in vintage and antique books, music, art and collectables. I work in the shop fixing up art that is badly damaged. It’s usually pieces that are not in good enough condition to sell, so I refresh them so they can be sold on. Painting pastiches and copying artists like Picasso has taught me a lot. I usually take three or four prints of a subject and take elements from all of them to reimagine and create something new.
Working with groups, teaching and sharing art with as many people as possible is what I enjoy. I entered this competition because I’m an artist, and entering competitions is second nature to us!
Now, your object. What is it and where did it come from?
I bought this object in Jakarta in the 90s. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost, a few dollars. They told me it was an authentic indigenous piece but I only know what the seller said, so all the facts are a bit mysterious. It is a medicine man for herbs and medicine, both the top and the bottom are detachable.
What was it that drew you to it?
He just has a lovely face and charming smile. He was the most fun thing they were selling so I bought him.
I know you have quite an assortment of objects, tell me about the rest of your collection?
My latest is an African piece, it’s a small statue which has been turned into a lamp. It was really hideous and I didn’t like it, but now I’ve bought a new lamp shade and I love it! My collection started with blue and white china. I bought items from the Sherpa people in night markets in Hong Kong and accumulated a few odd and interesting things. I thought I had a really rare Tibetan ceremonial yak milking bowl, but it turns out everyone has one; and mine’s not even that nice in comparison! It is like having my own small museum collection. You know the Bob Dylan song ‘She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist’? I feel like that.
As an artist yourself, how do you feel about being part of an internationally-acclaimed artist’s work?
Quite excited, child-like excited in a way. Very happily pleased!
Dan’s object and Bedwyr Williams’ artwork will be available to the public from Tue 17 July 2018.