Meet the Artist
Hi! I’m Dani. I’m a multidisciplinary artist who dabbles in photography, murals, calligraphy, and illustration. I have an unusual affinity for chickens, exclamation points (!!!), and LaCroix’s.
I feel like I’ve been creating all of my life! My earliest memories involve me coloring in my room. I still remember the feeling of pure joy that comes from creating! I just have an insatiable desire to create, a trait I feel all creative people share! Even now, when I’m in a bad mood I’m like “ohh ok this is “art grumpies” and I go and make something and everything feels better.
I’m self-taught with the exception of a couple of college-level courses. I feel like I have the entire Hobby Lobby store in my basement from always experimenting and staying curious.
It Started With Photography
My journey to becoming a full-time photographer was a bit of a windy road. I’ve been creating ever since I was little and didn’t really even know about photography until my mom and dad gifted me a film camera for a trip to France in high school. I remember picking up the photos from the local film lab and what a thrill it was to see what I could create with the literal click of a button.
Later, in college, I was really grappling with wanting to pursue my heart with an art major but also wanting to have a job that “paid the bills because art didn’t” (or so I was always told). As a result, I abandoned art altogether and stopped painting and drawing.
Photography gave me that creative outlet and was just a fun hobby for me. It wasn’t until later that I started sharing my pictures social media that people began to ask me if I would take their photos and they would– get this– pay me! To a broke college graduate, this was a dream!
Photography Pays Off
In my first photo session, I got paid $50 and they wrote me a thank you card expressing how much they loved what I had created for them. It was my *AHA* moment. Since I was little I had always dreamed of being an artist and I had finally found a way to combine my creativity with adding something of value for people.
I just kept experimenting and learning (I legitimately read my first camera’s (Canon Rebel) manual, cover to cover, 3x). The high I felt dreaming up locations, poses, and edits paired with the end result of people really loving what I was creating was the best. I felt the rush of finding what I was meant to be doing and it was truly so wonderful after feeling so lost for so long.
I’ve had the privilege of being a full-time wedding photographer for 8 years. I love the rush, the challenges, the fashion, the emotions—really everything about it. It’s taken me around the world and the best part of my job are the people I meet and the memories I get to immortalize for them.
Chickens Inspire Creativity
As far as art, I have circled back to it thanks to a reignited interest that I attribute to the pandemic. During quarantine, I was given 21 fluffy chicks for my birthday as a joke. That joke turned into a complete and utter obsession to giving them the poshest, most spoiled City Chicken lives we could. When we lost our Rooster, Cap’n Crunch, I drew a tribute that somehow ended up on T-Shirts that people asked to buy. I had so much fun doing it that I ended up doing an entire series based on the rest of the flock and it was THE most fun ever.
It’s evolved from there to large-scale murals, selling prints at art fairs, doing calligraphy, and discovering new and exciting merchandise I can put chicken drawings on haha!
Right now it is all the things I love right here in my backyard, literally and figuratively! Using all the things I personally love and embracing where I live instead of running away from it makes my artwork feel genuinely “me”. I am just having fun creating, that is what it’s all about, right!
The Creative Process
1. Get an idea: THIS IS AWESOME. I AM AWESOME.
2. *Doodles* okkk this is harder than I thought.
3. Why am I doing this?
4. Maybe I should just quit art and live in the woods as a hermit.
5. Takes a walk and remembers how much I hate bugs.
6. This *squints eyes* is just OK.
7. Panics at the looming deadline
8. Finishes and thinks, I am *OK*.
9. I am now ready to never look at this project again. NEXT!
The Best Advice
The world needs YOUR art and YOUR way of seeing things! Whenever I feel imposter syndrome creeping up, I remember that I was asked to bring my own personal flair to the table, not copy someone else’s!
My advice? Get out of your own way first. And by this, I mean stop making excuses for why you’re not being creative or not making anything creative. To make something great, you first have to make a LOT of terrible stuff! Make it a habit of creating something, even if it’s one photo or one little sketch every. single. day. Even when you don’t want to. You’ll be amazed at how easily ideas start flowing!
Never compare your first tries to, like, Michelangelo’s statue of David. That was a big issue for me in the beginning. I would see these artists I admired producing these unbelievable works of art and I started comparing myself. I felt utterly intimidated and wanted to just give up. Everyone was a beginner at one point. The whole point of being creative is to enjoy and embrace the process!
Create the Life You Love
Growing up in a small town as a little girl who wanted to create art, there wasn’t much–if any–artwork or artists in my community that validated it was possible! Now as a mother of a daughter whose love of art seems to surpass my own, it inspires me now more than ever to be a role model for her and show her it is possible to create the life you love! I don’t pretend to be an expert at any of this. I am not for everyone, and that is totally ok! I am just creating things that bring me joy in the hopes it’s contagious!