Joel Dickens was born in London, grew up in Essex and studied Fine Art in the Lake District. Upon graduating he returned to London, working and exhibiting there for a number of years before moving to Sydney in 2003.
Whilst in London, Dickens exhibited consistently, mostly around Shoreditch and London’s East End. His raw and childlike paintings were admired by members of the Stuckist movement and he exhibited alongside them in a number of shows at Gallery 108 and Compton Gallery.
In 2005, Dickens was picked up by Arthouse Gallery, Sydney, where he had three successful solo exhibitions. He also took part in the Curwoods residency which lead to a sizeable exhibition in Australia Square. His work was also exhibited and sold through Branco Gallery, Buenos Aires. In 2012, a stylistic shift in his work lead to a parting of ways with Arthouse Gallery, but he continued to exhibit through the Lofi Collective, an artist-run initiative comprising mostly of graffiti and street artists.
Dickens spent 2 years mentoring Indigenous Artists as Artist in Residence, in Hopevale, Far North Queensland. This resulted in a show he curated at The Tate in Glebe, Sydney. He was also mentor to a group of aspiring artists at the Cabramatta Migrant Centre, facilitating an exhibition of ArtWest’s work at the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Over the past few years Dickens has spent time developing his purely abstract style. Through his process, Dickens consciously challenges himself and his usual practice in an effort to acknowledge the complexities of adulthood, while referencing the sense of spontaneity and lack of inhibition that is habitual to youth. In his bright, raw works he reconciles a personal truth that is both personal and broadly relatable in that nothing can really be black and white. The works exists in the realm of thought where one can simultaneously acknowledge multiple possibilities while never fully submitting to one.