We had the good fortune of connecting with Dane Jefferson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dane, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?

I think there are two kinds of careers. You either stumble into one, or you purposefully inject yourself into one. I have chosen my career. My career started with a modest talent and that talent got me praise as a kid. Then it’s time to go to college and I chose the major that would continue that stream of affirmation. Then there comes this point when you ask yourself, “What are you trying to do?” and “How do you plan to do it?”. I didn’t really have an answer. The only response I had was to keep doing it and see where it goes. The massively important step I took during this time was to accept and own that I am an artist. First and foremost, that is my title and my mission. I believe this is an important step to take because it takes all other options off the table. It gives your talent a purpose and myself an identity.

The thing I wish I would have done long ago was to let more things just happen. I feel I was too assertive and going too fast. I was always way too eager to take a design job that would provide stability. I was terrified of failing. Fear is not a friend to creativity. I wish I would have taken my time and let the next thing come to me. This is the opposite of what you’re told. “If you want something, you reach out and take it!” I think that may be true in other occupations, but an artist needs time to develop their art and their community.

To answer the question most directly. I chose an artist career because I am an artist. I am an artist because I chose to be.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an oil painter. The thing that I am most excited about is color! And creating a scene, in the painterly sense. I love color. There are infinite possibilities and emotions in the exploration of color. I like to pair this exploration with image creation. I’m not an abstract painter. I like to paint the remarkable, but possible. Combining these two things gives me great joy. It gives me a true sense of creating. I am often asked what my paintings mean? My response is “Isn’t that your job.” Isn’t that part of the joy and mystery of viewing art? I know there is important art that has a very definitive purpose and I often express myself this way when I am not painting. I like the energy that a little mystery creates. I have motives in my paintings but they are mine and often too abstract to communicate, so enjoy, absorb and decipher.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The best Atlanta experience would be to mix the old with the new. Atlanta has changed quite a bit in the last decade. If I were to show a friend a great time I would give them some traditional experiences mixed with the new. Little 5 points and East Atlanta still have some of the same flavors they’ve had for twenty years. That’s why it’s wonderful. It’s a little dirty, but you can feel the history of good times bouncing through the air. That being said, there are wonderful places to eat and roam in the recently remodeled parts of town. The belt line is great. Ponce City Market is impressive. A good mixture of the old and the new is to go to Elliot Street Pub and then to an Atlanta United game at the new stadium. Atlanta also has an amazing history. A trip to the Civil Rights Museum and then go down to Edgewood Ave for lunch and walk around the history you just absorbed from the museum. There is a lot to witness and experience in Atlanta.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would have to give the credit to my parents. They could have easily told me I was not allowed to go to art school, but they didn’t. They didn’t know how I was going to earn a living doing art, but they said go for it. I would also have to give my wife some love here.  She has always been more than supportive.  She gives me the space and the patience to create and make messes. There are many people that have been supportive and many who did the opposite and tried to talk sense into me. I’m glad I received that support and didn’t do the sensible thing.

Website: danejeffferson.com

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