Crawford carries the artistic touch

Dody Crawford turns everything she touches into a work of art. She brings her exceptional artistic talents and love of organization, balance, composition and calm to her work as Executive Director of Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association.“An artist creates a pleasing visual order out of materials at hand,” Dody explains. “I love to create visual displays out of data.” She adds, “I like to take what would normally be boring facts and numbers and turn them into a clearly understood visual.”As a two-term member of the Encinitas Commission for the Arts, Dody has been involved in many aspects of the local arts. An accomplished artist who earned her BA in Art from Arizona State University, Dody came to this area in 1977 and has since honed her artistic skills with various local mentors.

Dody Crawford’s banner, “Friend to the Animals.” Courtesy photo

Dody loves everything related to film, and its influence is apparent in her exquisite sense of design. “Film has enhanced my appreciation of composition within a frame. There are a few directors who understand the strength of a well-composed scene and can sustain a beautiful and powerful composition throughout the whole movie.”

She is particularly drawn to black and white film, and enjoys using any medium such as ink or pencil that will result in a film noir look.

While rendering the black and white dedication portrait of late councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, which appeared on the reverse of this year’s Arts Alive banners, Dody had no idea how controversial it was to become.

Her exquisite full-length portrait of Maggie has been a primary highlight of this year’s outdoor art display. Titled “Friend to the Animals,” the image, which is reminiscent of Saint Francis of Assisi can be seen in front of the Roxy Restaurant. The banner depicts Maggie in the Mexican attire she loved to wear, surrounded by an array of animals she had cared for during the last several years of her life.

During the eight years Dody has painted Arts Alive banners, almost all have portrayed individuals connected to Downtown Encinitas, including Boat House creator Miles Kellogg, George Harrison, and Ida Lou Coley. Dody says of her process in designing her banners: “I like to research the subjects I intend to paint, pick up clues to their lives, little symbols that directly pertain to their personality or history.”

Dody’s beautifully designed banners have drawn the attention of noted individuals such as composer Hugh Martin of “White Christmas” fame, who purchased her banner featuring his late friend, local activist and historian Ida Lou Coley.

Until very recently her 2009 banner portraying Timothy Leary had the distinction of being the only banner ever to disappear from its light pole display during Arts Alive 2009.

See Dody’s, as well as ninety-seven other banners, at the Arts Alive banner live auction May 20, at 2 p.m. in the Cardiff Town Center Courtyard. Bids can be placed by calling the DEMA office at (760) 943-1950 until 5 p.m. May 18.

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at kaycolvin@lstreetfineart.com.

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