A few months ago, I attended a Kao Canada event where they brought in local artist Dana Mooney to do live painting. I took home one of Dana’s prints with gold leaf, and since then I’ve been completely hooked (remember that “turn on notifications” fiasco that happened on Instagram a few weeks ago? well Dana is the ONLY person I turned on notifications for, even though she didn’t ask for it, just because I wanted to be first to be notified of when her art goes up). Since that day, I’ve purchased one more print and three more original paintings from Dana to display in my nonexistent future home (I’m nesting…).
P.S. just an early head’s up that this post isn’t sponsored in any way, I purchased all of my Dana art with my own money and I really wanted to share my love for her art to everyone I know because it’s seriously that great. The Instagram posts below all incorporate her art in them, so they make great Instagram backdrops too!
Dana’s aesthetic aligns with my personal style – her art is bright, cheery, and she has a line of florals that I’m absolutely obsessed with. I love the way she incorporates acrylics with watercolours and metallic foil.
ML: How long have you been an artist, and how did you discover your love for painting?
DM: I’ve always painted and made art, but I remember thinking when I was a kid that I wanted to be an “artist” when I grew up. I’ve been focused on painting fulltime for 3.5 years now, and before that I did some interior decorating, and before that I was a makeup artist. All of these careers overlapped with each other and have influenced my painting style in different ways.
ML: Where do you find your inspiration?
DM: I look at what’s happening in interior decor and fashion for my color inspiration. Social media like instagram and pinterest are constantly feeding me inspiring images too, and the fact that I live next to the seawall in Vancouver is a huge part of my “vibe” as well. I also try to travel and explore new cities as much as possible. Basically, I’m never at a loss for inspiration!
ML: What do you love most about being an artist?
DM: I love so many things about my artist life…I love the fact that I work for myself and think of what I do as running a business. I feel almost more like an entrepreneur than an artist most of the time, with total creative freedom and an unpredictable schedule which makes every day completely different. And a huge part of my happiness is based on the fact that people are supporting what I do, giving me more motivation and satisfaction than I could have ever had doing a job I didn’t love. I love that I am truly myself, and the new friends and connections I have made through my art are so strong that I can’t imagine a different lifestyle now that I’ve tried this one!
ML: How would you describe your aesthetic?
DM: My aesthetic is happy, pretty, colorful, light, feminine (although I’m working on some more masculine pieces right now so stay tuned:)), soft, calm, positive, versatile.
ML: What does your typical day look like?
DM: Well, every day is completely different, I can’t keep a routine schedule or I’d be bored to death. Some days are spent just having meetings and keeping on top of my social media, emails etc… I do try and paint at least a little every day, and if that gets pushed aside for too long I will block out complete “studio days” to balance it out. I get up at 7am, and wind down my day around 8pm with some breaks in between. Things that I do everyday without fail include drinking coffee, getting to the gym, checking in with my friends, and going over my projects/timelines to keep myself on schedule.
ML: How do your clients generally find you, and are your clients more consumers, interior designers, or something else?
DM: There have been a few really big influences on building my name as an artist and giving me exposure. The first way a lot of my clients find me is through “The Cross Decor and Design,” where I show my latest work. Social media is also huge – Instagram has been a key player in my exposure. Since my target is to work with Interior Designers and create ongoing relationships as a resource to their clients, I’ve exhibited at IDS West for the past 2 years and reconnect with designers all the time in followup meetings and different design events. And I’ve also had a lot of media coverage, which leads to the collaborations I have worked on… and things just really start to snowball from all of those different outlets!
ML: What’s your favourite piece of art created by you?
DM: I did this little cactus painting one day, just as an experiment and it is the one piece that I never get tired of looking at. Otherwise, I think the piece I’m currently working on is always my favourite.
ML: What tips do you have for budding artists?
DM: My tips for anyone that wants to be a full time artist would be that you can’t allow yourself to get lazy. You need to be obsessed with your work and have the drive to make things happen. Think of what you do as a business as well, if you want to create sellable pieces. I also have learned that you need to create a community of support for what you’re doing. Make connections with other artists, learn from them, find other entrepreneurs and see what angle they are taking and what tools they are using to streamline their businesses. I started doing this without any plan, but I don’t actually reccommend that for anyone else. Trust in your own path and don’t compare yourself with others “success rates.”
Dana will be attending a number of upcoming shows in spring/summer. You can sign up to her newsletter for the most recent updates, as well as to be notified of when she’ll be doing a show. There is going to be one upcoming on June 2 at Botany Living Studio in Vancouver where you can pick up Dana’s new work, as well as some discounted prior year work.
Dana is also going to be doing her solo show on July 14th at the Waterfall Building in Vancouver, so keep an eye out for details about that.