Meet our THRIVE Speakers: Keetra Dean Dixon

On February 23, AIGA Raleigh is hosting our first conference, THRIVE, a one-day supercharged creative conference that will inspire the creative leaders of today and tomorrow with a powerhouse of speakers. We have assembled a line-up of speakers from all over the United States to change the way you think about yourself, where you live, and the impact you can have on both.

To introduce you to our speakers, we asked them to answer a few questions. Meet Keetra Dean Dixon, a designer, director, artist, and teacher. She recently traded in her 15-year practice as an experiential director to focus on independent work including lettering, sculpture, and product design. Her hybrid background continues to lead her towards speculative terrain, leveraging emergent technologies and process-focused making.

Dixon is an ADC Young Gun and a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Award. Her client roster includes the New York Times, Nike, VW, and Coach. She’s shown at the Walker Art Center, the Cooper Hewitt, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, and her work is in the permanent design collection at the SFMOMA.

Q1: Please describe an experience you’ve had in your life that’s led you to feel more empowered as a creative.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but learning to weld with my Dad when I was 7, followed by a knitting lesson with my Mom laid the groundwork for every empowering creative experience I’ve had since. It was my first moment of understanding how tiny skills could be applied in monumental ways in both function and form. I felt that with enough practice I could make something grand. I feel the same thrill of possibility when I learn new tools today.

Q2: As creatives, the work we do has an impact on those around us (viewers, users, the environment, etc). What is something you do to ensure that the impact you’re making is positive?

Twist the cynical loop! I can be a bit snarky and I love a little bite, but it often risks offending unintentionally. I try to balance the dark with humor, play, and vulnerability.

Q3: We have a strong sense of community in our chapter and beyond. How has being an active part of a community provided you with an opportunity you wouldn’t have had otherwise?

A lot of my work is participatory, the narrative is not complete without an engaged audience. I am constantly surprised by people’s interaction with the work and often delighted by the feeling of spontaneous community which results. These unexpected moments bring new idea, insights, and a rare feeling of enhanced understanding…it’s not a traditional community, but it’s one I adore.

Follow Keetra
Instagram: @keetradeandixon
Twitter: @keetradeandixon

By Amy Lyons
Published February 12, 2018