California Artist Dickson Schneider was born in Seguin Texas, 1955. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mr. Schneider’s career trajectory seems more in keeping with artists who came to the field from the GI bill. After receiving his BA in Fine Art from California State University at Hayward, Schneider went on to earn an MFA in Painting from Washington State University at Pullman. He returned to California to work for the Social Security Administration as a case worker while pursuing painting. From Social Security he went on to travel in Europe and when he returned, came back to painting while working for Alameda Naval Air Base first in the Kafkaesque role of Forms Manager- making sure the base had all the forms they needed- and later as an Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator, receiving and researching complaints of discrimination and harassment on the most integrated military base in the world. All the while painting.

From 1989 to 1991 Mr. Schneider ran a small gallery, 1350 Upstairs, in Alameda presenting exhibits and conceptual projects, the most popular was an exhibition in which the audience was allowed to destroy the art as the process of de-installation.

The Navy base closed in 1997sending Mr. Schneider to become a primary instructor with the Painting and Drawing faculty at California State University at Hayward, where is teaches still.

In that same year Mr. Schneider created a series of drawings of invented lures and flies for an article for a friend. After they were published in a small, local magazine; The Secret Alameda, the collection and descriptions were published by Viking as a book of fiction which is often confused as a resource book; Every Angler’s Guide to Amazing Lures and Flies by Dickson Schneider, Viking 1997.

Mr. Schneider’s paintings and drawings have been represented by a range of galleries Big Pagoda, San Francisco; Donna Seager, Mill Valley; D.P. Fong, San Jose, Ellis Pilcher Gallery, San Francisco among others. With the recession of 2008 the last of Mr. Schneider’s galleries closed. This loss of prescribed liaison between artist and public led Mr. Schneider to create his current project; The Free Art Project in which Schneider creates art works and takes them to the street or gallery where drawings, paintings, collages and sculptures are offered to the public free of charge.

The project has been presented at Art Basel Miami,  Takt Project and Kunstraum Tapir in Berlin, where it was the subject of German National Radio program Deutsch Radio, Paolo Mejia Gallery, San Francisco, T Moro Projects, Santa Clara, andin association with art fairs; Start Up San Francisco 2015 and Aqua, Miami 2012, 2014. The project will be presented this August at the Torrence Art Museum in Torrence, California.

Thousands of small works created for the Free Art Project serve as foundation works for Mr. Schneider’s current studio work expanding micro scale collages into medium and large scale oil paintings and digital prints.

Mr. Schneider is a founder of The Bridge Program at Autobody where he and two other professional artist provide low cost advanced study programs for emerging artists.

The Holes in Naruto


Artist Statement

By Schneider

My local library leaves outdated and discarded periodicals out in front for the public to enjoy and take home. There, a friend of mine found a stack of Naruto books and gave me one (Naruto is the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto.) It seems every High School kid knows these but I was interested in the pages and pages of black and white graphic drawings.

For three years I have been deriving works from Naruto books, making collagesusing only a hole punch and color halftones enlarged from a Vogue fashion magazine and occasionally, scissors. I have limited myself severely and on purpose. The series is called “The Holes in Naruto.”

There is a nice back story here. I was remodeling my basement. People hide things in walls. Behind the old plaster, I found a letter in an opened envelope from 1932, written in Italian, from a man in Alameda to a woman in San Francisco. Silverfish had been eating one side of the letter for almost 80 years and had created an edge of chewy round cuts and holes down the length of the document. The holes in this love letter I have never forgotten.

My work has spun in on itself in these images as I began to enlarge the pieces of the holes in Naruto collages into digital prints. Rather than mixing media, I like to cross mediums, i.e. What if a collage became a photograph?. These works reference themselves to the point of implosion and they can only exist in a digital form. The latest version uses the collages as source material for making carvings into plastic using a CNC router.  In the carvings, I make layers like a color separation only I use depth instead of color.

The most recent work has been about taking the collages and gilding them.  I'm using 23 carat gold leaf to obliterate most of imagery, creating rich textural pieces with a kind of “modernist” impulse.

On a conceptual basis, I am trying to answer for myself one question, what are the requirements of 'an image' in our world? An image is a shifting target – what we make and can see today would have been completely incomprehensible even only 50 years ago.

About the Artist

Gilded Naruto #15, Gilded Naruto#17, Gilded Naruto #7, Gilded Naruto #7, installed at Gallery at the Werkshack, September 2018

Curator: Christine Ferrouge, Artist: Dickson Schneider, Collegue David Burke at opening reception

September 7th, 2018

The Gilded Age

art by Dickson Schneider

Curated by Christine Ferrouge