Biographical / Historical
Eleanor Dickinson (1931-2017) was a painter, graphic and video artist, and educator in San Francisco, C.A.
Dickinson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1931. Shortly after graduating from University of Tennessee in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts, Dickinson moved to California and established a studio in San Francisco. There she immersed herself in the counterculture of the 1960s, becoming friends with Allen Ginsberg and producing a poster with Ginsberg's fellow Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Dickinson attended the San Francisco Art Institute from 1961 to 1963. In 1971, she traveled to Paris to study drawing at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Dickinson taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) from 1971 to 2001 where she also received her Master of Fine Arts in film and video in 1982. At the CCAC, she taught a series of courses on art business and management. Her interest in the professional aspects of the art field led to the creation of her cable access show, Art of the Matter, that featured guests speaking on topics such as art management, law, financial matters, insurance, and other practical issues related to being a professional artist.
Dickinson's continuing interest in and activism for the rights and well-being of artists also influenced her work with the Artists Equity Association, the Women's Caucus for the Arts, and numerous other organizations. Though extremely active in the art world of the West Coast, she never forgot her southern roots and continued to visit Tennessee annually. Dickinson's close connection to her birthplace is evident throughout her career, with Southern religion often being central to her work. Among her most prominent projects are the multifaceted exhibition Revival!, the documentary "Artist's Models of San Francisco," the ink drawings seen in Old Lovers, and illustrations for the books Complete Fruit Cookbook and That Old-Time Religion.
Dickinson was married to Wade Dickinson and had three children: Mark, Katy, and Daniel. Dickinson died in San Francisco, California, in 2017.