Making THE cut: Joliet barber/artist hopes to be discovered
BY FRANK VAISVILAS Correspondent October 2, 2013 8:36PM
If you go ...
What: Hair Illusions 13 haircutting competition
Where: Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive, Chicago
When: 6 p.m. Oct. 13
Cost: $20 or $40 VIP
Contact: 773-297-7816 or 773-410-9034
Updated: November 4, 2013 12:12PM
JOLIET — Marqual Dixon’s artistic haircutting designs — which include sports logos and faces sculpted into the scalps of his customers — have been recognized as some of the best in the Midwest.
“Anything you can possibly put in someone’s hair, I’ll make that happen,” Dixon said.
He sees his mastery of the art of cutting hair as a way out of some of the rough streets of Joliet. The 30-year-old has been cutting hair since he was 12 and growing up in one of the city’s worst crime-ridden neighborhoods.
“I grew up on the south end of Joliet in the Des Plaines Street projects,” Dixon said. “That’s one of the hardest places to grow up.”
Dixon has been working as a barber for the past seven years at DJ’s Barbershop, 17 Fairlane Drive, off of West Jefferson Street in Joliet. But he sees a chance to really make it big in the industry when some of the best hairstylists and barbers compete later this month at Hair Illusions 13 in Chicago.
Dixon’s been competing in hair shows for the last three years and has finished in second place, but never first. This year, he feels confident about winning.
Dixon will be judged on his graphic cuts, originality and all-around presentation. The presentation is a large production that includes on-stage performers.
Dixon will have three young men from his neighborhood performing a Chicago-area style of dancing called footworking.
“We’ll be using (the film) ‘Bride of Chucky’ as a barber theme,” Dixon said. “We’re going to be re-enacting parts of the movie.”
His dancers, Jeremy Jordan, 19, Devon Newell, 18, and Erik Bell, 22, are confident about their chances.
“It’s ours. We’re going to win it,” Jordan said.
Dixon sees the contest as an opportunity for his dancers to also do something positive with their lives. They practice several times a week at DJ’s or just hang out there.
“We’re looking for more exposure ... so we can make it out of here,” Newell said.
If they weren’t at DJ’s, Dixon said, his dancers might just be hanging out on the streets where trouble might find them.
Dixon sees the barbershop as an important part of the community. Besides a place where people get haircuts, it’s where friends and neighbors meet and hang out or watch sports.
Win or lose in the haircutting competition, Dixon is happy to be doing what he’s doing.
“I like the reaction I get when I make someone look good,” Dixon said.
Still, he said he’d like some of his clientele and friends from Joliet to support him in the contest.