Earl Dismuke

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by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

Earl Dismuke grew up on his parents’ farm in Winona, Mississippi. He always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up, but didn’t know if it could become a reality.

“As a kid, I always knew that I wanted to do something creative and be an artist,” he said. “But I didn’t really know how that looked like; (had) never seen any examples of that.”

Now, this husband, father of four, and business analyst for a software company found a way to make his childhood dream a reality. Dismuke has paved his way to be a sculptor.

“It’s welding and cutting and torching and grinding and scratching your head — all of that,” he said, chuckling.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and sculpture, he and his wife decided to settle down in Oxford. That’s when Dismuke decided to take a hiatus from art to start his family. When he came back, he did it with a bang by co-founding the Yokna Sculpture Trail in Pat Lamar Park in 2015. The Trail features 18 large-scale sculptures that are rotated out to display other artists’ work. For Dismuke, it’s all about bringing art to everyone.

“I know there are people out there that don’t feel comfortable maybe going into a museum or going into a gallery,” he said. “Both entities are great — galleries and museums, I’m not knocking those — I just think that there are some people out there who don’t feel comfortable going into those places, and they can still be moved by the artwork that’s been placed in the public.”

For Dismuke, being an artist who hopes to reach those people through his exhibits makes the honor of placing a sculpture that much more meaningful. He has three pieces in New Orleans, a show and gallery in Waveland, Mississippi, a showing at the Oxford Treehouse Gallery, and has participated in shows from Portland, Oregon, Madison, Wisconsin, Lima, Peru, to Basel, Switzerland.

As an abstract expressionist — from large-scale pieces to smaller, bronze or cast iron pieces incorporating Buddy Lee bobble heads — he knows his work won’t always translate the exact way he had thought of his creations; but he said this is where the fun starts.

“You might get something totally different out of what I was thinking for that, and that’s OK because whatever you brought into that and whatever you’re thinking about, that is something dealing with you,” he said. “That’s you putting a little bit of yourself into that. You don’t have to like it. But at some point, that’s where you and I made that connection, right?… And that’s where all the magic happens as an artist.”


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