My name is Dick Dixon; I am one of those baby boomers everyone talks about in hushed tones. I was born in Sawbridgeworth, a small country town in Hertfordshire, England. Though I had a fairly unremarkable upbringing, I was very interested as a child in astronomy and chemistry. I knew that it would not be possible to convert lead into gold, but I thought it might be worth a try as I was always rather hard up! The experiment sadly failed as I was unable to get hold of the necessary lead. I am sure that someone has found a way to do it now, as I see so many Rolls Royces cruising about with abandon.
Anyway, after primary school, I got a place at Hertford Grammar School, where I was able to go to town on chemistry, though never did get to make the greatly needed gold. Instead I did manage to win the Ilott Prize for poetry - in the lower school, much to my surprise, as it was really supposed to be a sixth-form prize! The prize was the textbook on chemistry that I craved. I never expected the recipe for gold to be within, and it wasn't!
After secondary school, I managed to get a place at University College, Cardiff to study chemistry, among other things. I had of course heard that there was gold in the Welsh hills, and thought this might solve my problems. Unfortunately I was so busy with other things that I never did manage to find the gold.
I did however manage to graduate in mathematics in the end (it's a long story), and set about working for Legal and General (near St. Paul's) as an actuarial clerk, with the promise of much gold to come. The problem was that boredom took over and I moved on to working with British Rail. At least there would be a way of transporting the gold, when it arrived. It never did, so I thought it was about time to begin my teaching career. There was certainly not much gold there, but at least I did eventually succeed in meeting Reine Mazoyer, the well known French artist - another long story involving a lost Metro ticket, a huge bunch of bananas and a drunken blacksmith - best not to ask!
We started writing books of humorous poetry together; Reine illustrated in glorious technicolour, while I wrote the text. We began with ‘Rhymes for no Reason’, then ‘Rhymes of the Newfangled Mariner’, followed by ‘The Curse of the Square Crow’. The fourth book, published in June 2022 is ‘In Bed with the Cats’ Pyjamas’, and very soon we expect to see ‘Tricked by the Kippers’ Knickers’, so please look out for that!
We are now working on our sixth book, which I am hoping to call ‘How The Gold was Finally Found’, but I may have to settle for something less ambitious!
I am hoping that one day, possibly in the far distant future on another planet, somebody will read these books without having to stare down the barrel of a Walther PPK. It may have worked for James Bond, but it is just not my way. Ironically though, if James Bond had written these books, he would not have needed that PPK - nor even a Beretta most likely.
Reine was born in Montbrison, in southern France, and after secondary studies, she studied Fine Arts at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Saint- Etienne. Later she moved to Paris and began to exhibit her works from there in the seventies – from 1973 onwards.
She had also met Robert Mazoyer, who was a film director from the same part of France, and they married in 1965. Their son Julien was born in 1966, though sadly he died in 1992.
She often collaborated with her husband as a film set decorator and will thus be associated with many television series produced by her husband, until his death in 1999.
In 2009, Reine received the honour of 'Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres'.
As a painter, visual artist and designer, she has regularly exhibited her works not just in Paris but also other parts of Europe, including the UK, and in the USA.
Reine's work is multifaceted; during all her years of creation, she has been through several periods of inspiration, ranging over drawing, painting, writing and also illustrating books. Recently, she has joyously discovered a new inspiration – that of large installations.
Reine is a non-realistic figurative artist, inspired by her memories, emotions and reflections upon the contemporary world and its history. She uses various media – though mainly painting and drawing, where bright colours and precise drawing create a luminous and graphic universe that belongs only to her.
Her latest creations are large 'totems', which are painted on canvases of different shapes and sizes, assembled together in polyptychs. They are stylised characters, symbolised by what characterises them or by the role that they play in society.
Reine's work is always in the making; she has not finished her quest. She is always open to new ideas, and for the last few years has found a strange corner of her life in which she has had some pleasure in illustrating the books of poetry written by Dick Dixon. Here things are not always what they seem but refer to a world of humans that we can all recognise, even if it not quite the one we have.
2009 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
1973 Prix David Weill de dessin