Where to start with EZRA DICKINSON . He’s a choreographer, activist, performer, sculptor, painter, animator, filmmaker and street artist. A true renaissance man who is not only our lead actor in our film SODO EXPRESS but he is a good friend who we’ll no doubt be collaborating again with in the near future.
I won’t limit you with too many specifics, but give us a bit of the background spiel…
I’ve grown up an artist, my path has never much wavered from creativity. As I grow older, I find new connections and relationships between art forms. These connections fuel my need to incorporate new mediums into my vision and understanding. My mother put me in ballet at the age of 4. My father encouraged me to explore drawing/painting and walking. My learning expanded into bronze casting classes and ceramics. Soon after my first ceramics classes, my mother found me an apprenticeship at a pottery studio in our home town. Ballet, pottery, drawing and baseball where my main creative outlets until my later teens, when it became apparent that I would need to make some sort of decision. I was in an advanced level of ballet at this point and my choice was between auditioning to join a ballet company somewhere in the world, or investigate my interest in choreography and other forms of art through college.
I chose college, from this new path my understanding of modern/experimental dance forms grew, my interaction with artists practicing in a wide range of mediums filled my perspective.
In my later teens I had found inspiration in graffiti artists and with time I became one myself. As college began, street art/graffiti, performing and choreography were my main outlets.
Soon ceramics came back into my life. A few years into college I had joined a handful of modern/experimental performance groups and was happy touring around the country performing constantly. In my own creative pursuits, I started to blend forms, bringing sculpture into performance in the form of masks, and costume construction, street art started to inform how I thought of what a performance location could be.
My main question was ” how could I create a message that could be heard and understood?’.
I wanted to find new avenues that performance had not yet investigated. I would say this pursuit is a huge focus in my practice now days and has been for close to ten years. In my current form I have been learning how to build houses from a general contractor for the last three years. I aim to build my own home in the near future. I’m performing for five dance/performance artists (when Covid is not running amuck). I have a robust choreographic practice of my own, that focuses on creating gifts for my schizophrenic mother. Along with painting murals, creating ceramic works, and always looking for the next new medium to learn about. I have heavily positioned my graffiti/street art practice towards activism, speaking directly to issues at hand in my region, homelessness, rent control, police violence and general advocacy for those less fortunate.
And about Seattle – the creativity and the change in the city.
Seattle is going through a regression in its artistic support structures. There is much to take in but the full-hearted support for what artists contribute to community is woefully lacking. I think down the road there’s going to be a resurgence of support because the new shiny buildings will lose their shine and we will remember what actually matters when building a vibrant community. Honestly in this neck of the woods, it doesn’t as much feel like the con man who has been acting as president for the last four years has had a great deal of effect on us, compared to other regions of America. Yes, we had/have conflict, we have been designated as an “anarchist jurisdiction” but that’s because were a bunch of creative progressives and were going to actively voice our opinions regarding stupid shit. In a nut shell I think this region is massively creative, something about the grey of the fall and winters creates the ideal for soulful introspection that leads to powerful artistic contributions. Seattle though needs to learn how to value these priceless assets and support its artists, in a sense selling home grown talent to other cities nationally and internationally.
How did you go about working on SODO EXPRESS?
Working on Sodo Express was a total chance interaction. I reached out to Shaz on social media because his photographs had caught my eye, and upon investigating I read that a film was in the making, and the (at that time) premise was an artist dealing with mental health. We started talking, clearly right from the start we had a lot in common. Naturally, one thing led to another and we started working on Sodo Express. It was easy, meeting up once or twice a week we talked through story boarding, location scouting, and on to shooting. The pressure was nonexistent, it truly was two artists not only getting to know each other but a collaboration laying the groundwork for future exploration and play.
And what did you enjoy about the production?
What I truly enjoy about this film is getting to see how it all comes together, there are many different collaborators, I don’t know almost all of the people involved. The key being that all of those involved come with very high regard. I’m an artist who loves what can come from a willingness to venture into collaborations, I know that the best is yet to come and I’m super excited to see how each artist adds their mark on Sodo Express.
And what are you up to this year?
Looking towards a time when we all can begin to return to a normal life. I fully understand that we will forever be in a changed world because of this pandemic. I like to imagine that we can create a better life for future humanity. I have a number of projects in different stages of completion, you can always keep up on what’s being made through my insta: @blackinsondickwell and my website Ezradickinson.com. Most of all I really just want to get back to traveling, getting to see new places and friends in different locations.