During Edwin Dickinson’s childhood, his family expected him to become a Presbyterian minister. Instead, he settled on a career in the navy. After failing the Annapolis entrance exam twice, he decided to become a painter instead. He enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and took classes at the Art Students League of New York and the National Academy of Design. Dickinson liked to find the visual appeal of common or discarded objects, which he included in his bustling, crowded compositions.