Sitting in San Diego, California with his newest work "Pillow Talking The Devil", is Navajo artist Dion Terry. His newest work is also now my newest acquisition since when I saw his snapshot of the completed canvas posted up on Facebook I gave him a call telling him it was sold – to me. Four days later I got in the car to drive the five and a half hours from Phoenix to San Diego. Over the early afternoon today, Dion, Tassia, and I shared lunch at the beach, visited a hidden garden, and exchanged cash for art.
My interpretation of Dion’s "Pillow Talking The Devil" is that he has painted a self portrait of sorts, a powerful and inspired portrait that for years to come I believe will prove to be one of his greatest works. The raven is Dion attached to the worn doll body marked with moments from his past, graffitied and tattooed – elements of his past. Overhead is a halo of innocence which I regard as his questioning of nature and trying to deal with the subject at hand with honesty. And what is at hand and in hand is the snake, also known as the devil. In the Navajo belief system, the snake is inherently evil, it is the devil. But the snake is not only in hand confronting Dion it is also a yoke around his neck, it is his beliefs that are maybe a burden too which he tries to confront. This confrontation is made all the more personal in that his chest is open, his heart exposed as if to suggest that, "I challenge you to prove you are more than a chimera, I think it might be that you simply enslave me with fear and if I am to truly know myself and my heart, I must ascend and throw off this yoke of mythological superstition while I attend to exploring the heavens through my art – but first, I must pillow talk this devil before me, I must overcome".
Regardless of what its true meaning may ultimately be, I feel that Dion is on a path of creativity that is uniquely his and is on the cusp of breaking through the art world’s exclusive fortress.