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A local artist finds a way to express himself after speech therapy

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Torin Andersen

Anthony Dozier says he struggled to talk when he was a child. But he learned how to speak properly while taking his daughter to speech therapy. And, in the process, he found his artistic voice as well.

For this month’s Art Works, Torin Andersen talked with Anthony Dozier about his transformation and about a bold and vibrant painting in his latest exhibition.

Torin Andersen

In 2015, Dozier was selected from a competition to show work inside a glass enclosure in the Rhatigan student center at WSU. Leading up to that moment was a lifetime of challenges in personal expression.

"When I was a child, I couldn't talk," Dozier says. "I had to find creative ways to communicate with people. It all comes from a child's imagination and a child's unrelenting effort to talk properly like everybody else.

"It wasn't until the birth of my second daughter ... my baby daughter had a a speech problems too. I attended Wichita State [and a] speech pathologist school up there ... I went to every session with my daughter and I learned how to speak properly and let everything out. Going through her therapies, which I did not have when I was a child ... it helped her and it helped me.

Torin Andersen

Dozier’s work is bold and vibrant, the way he describes his voice after years of suppression. Dozier recounts the multifaceted story of his work titled “Infected.”

Torin Andersen

"This creation came to mind," he says. "I would say in the middle of the pandemic, but one day I was working on it. I had a hangnail in my right hand. So I got it outta the way to continue the artwork or [put] the finish on it. And when I picked that hangnail out, well, something bad happened. My finger got infected.

"The lines that are associated with this piece [are] supposed to [have] been nice and straight, but the pain of squeezing the paint out of the instrument I was using was so great, I passed out from pain. I cleaned it up and I got rid of the infection [to] where I didn't have to visit the hospital. That's where it got its name 'Infected.'"

Dozier goes on to describe the meaning of the shapes and colors atop his light blue canvas.

"You may get the idea of these little microbes and things that are in our bodies," he says, "the dark looking spears are, I would say, your healing attributes of the body. And the white is the infected parts that is around all the parts of your thumb or inside of the thumb itself being affected by [what it's] being affected by. But the healing system is engaged; trying to keep the infection out. That's the best way I could describe that."

He has more than 20 years of experience shaping and documenting the arts in Wichita.