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Life and Work with Toni Dammicci

Today we’d like to introduce you to Toni Dammicci.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m a professional fine artist and designer who specializes in creating one-of-a-kind, handcrafted works of art for commercial, residential and public spaces. I’m known for my colorful, bold style, larger-than-life scale, ambitious approach and my newly signature “paperscape” works.

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where everything is big, the arts and culture are pervasive, the perspective is vast and to me nothing was impossible. I’ve always dreamed big and if you dream big, you have to work big.

Throughout my life, I’ve always loved to paint, as far back as three years old. Capturing textures, colors and landscapes have always been a favorite.

I earned a BFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design and it was there where I started moving beyond the canvas, experimenting with new mediums and became really passionate about challenging the way people view and experience art. I went beyond paint and canvas, taking paper, fabrics, and a world of materials to offer an alternative to wall art, where people could walk around, through and over the art. I wanted them to become part of the artwork and experience art in a new way.

From this concept “The Fog” was created as an experiment of sorts- a 46,000 square foot interactive installation made from 16 miles of reclaimed cotton twine and fabric. It was an art experience inspired by the phenomena of fog where visitors were led through woven pathways to a central dome where one was completely surrounded by the illusion of “fog.” When the sun set, hundreds of candles lit up the pathways for a new experience under the stars. This installation attracted hundreds of visitors and became the first “Experience Collective” project.

The Experience Collective was officially founded that year in 2011 and has evolved into a design and fabrication studio staying true to the mission of creating handcrafted art and large-scale experiential artwork. Through this creative endeavor, I met Ethan Conlon, my collaborator and now husband, as well as a handful of other amazing collaborators who contributed over time.

After “The Fog”, I was hooked and continued to create large-scale, site-specific artwork and displays, and even interactive sculptures for clients. I took my craft to a new level as I joined Anthropologie to design, fabricate and install custom store windows and interior displays. In addition, my work was commissioned in multiple states by a variety of public art programs along with commissions of artwork for businesses and residences.

In tandem with the Experience Collective, my creativity and creative process has come full circle. My childhood in Dallas, Texas, my time in art school, my company, my clients, the environments and materials I’ve always been so drawn to have all led to where I am today.

My personal work has gone back to my fine art roots where I am creating contemporary impressionistic landscapes handcrafted from layered paper that wave and undulate with light washes of color. My paperscapes add a beautiful touch to any commercial or residential space.

I’m always excited about what’s next and all the future possibilities that a creative career and a personal art practice holds. That’s the fun of it and that’s truly what it’s all about!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Every business struggles from its inception and it is never a smooth ride, but that’s part of the adventure. For me, establishing a professional art business, along with being a professional fine artist has been a challenging balancing act. I love creating art that transforms spaces, places, and makes people happy. It’s always a challenge to gain visibility in a cluttered and saturated world. I’ve always believed that the only way to do great work is to love what you do. For me, it’s working with my mind and hands and creating works bursting with passion that I live for.

My advice to anyone starting out is to go in with everything you’ve got! Explore what makes you happy and gets you uncontrollably excited and passionate. Whatever that is, it’s probably the thing you should dedicate your time to do. If your original plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal. Take the time and establish what’s your “big arrow” dream. Once you have that goal, do something, anything every day to work towards your big arrow. Always focus on the positive, stay flexible, take risks and surround yourself with great people.

Above all, put in the time and trust the process. Working with your hands can inform your creative ideas. The more you create, the more you are able to see what works and the more you grow. It is the artists and the entrepreneurs who put in the work that get somewhere with their artwork and business.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Experience Collective – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Experience Collective is a design and fabrication studio that creates one-of-a-kind artwork and large-scale experiential works for retail and commercial businesses, private events and public works of art. Our work transforms otherwise ordinary spaces and events into something extraordinary, all through art. We’ve always believed in the power of experience and how art can enhance experience by being impactful, well-crafted and transformative. We’ve become known for our larger-than-life scale, use of vibrant colors, textures and unexpected materials. Something that really sets us apart is that we truly make everything here in house and all by hand.

People come to us looking for creative ideas, original artwork and displays that bring a “wow factor” to their specific space or event. Our signature service is just that: to design, fabricate and install custom artwork no matter the scale, material or location. When you need art for your retail store, restaurant, office, hotel, wedding or private residence, think of us.

In the past few years, we’ve been really fortunate to have designed large-scale art concepts for the Paris Market and Brocante, a window display for Lululemon’s International Women’s Day Campaign at Ponce City Market, a private Colorado wedding, and public art for the Atlanta Beltline to name a few. Out of all the work we’ve done together it’s hard to pick a favorite or our most proud of, I think for us the next piece is always the favorite piece!

I’m so thankful for all the wonderful collaborators, clients, and friends that have supported, inspired and contributed to this creative adventure we’re on. It’s the people we work for and with and the power to inspire that makes my job so worth it.

Who have you been inspired by?
My Mom, Kim, has always been one of my biggest inspirations. She is fiercely creative, patient beyond belief, hilarious and most importantly loves to have fun! Since I was a kid, she always stressed the importance of doing what you love and that it’s ok to make messes…. even when my splatter paint flew way beyond the canvas covering the freshly painted walls in an expressive, multi-colored design. Sorry Mom! Being raised with that kind of freedom has always given me the confidence to take chances, live with passion and to never take life too seriously. A couple of my favorite things she says are: “It’s just as important to know what doesn’t work as it is to know what does work” and “Nothing is a waste of time or effort if you use everything as a gauge to move closer toward your dream.”

I’m also inspired by all things in nature. As long as I can remember, the colors, textures, shapes, materials and perfectly imperfectness of nature has been a source of continuous inspiration for me. I love to travel and have been blessed to experience life, people and nature on multiple continents. My travels are always a fresh source of perspective and inspiration that I draw upon when creating.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Barbie Collier

    September 21, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Toni Dammicci is a rare find! Thank you for giving her the recognition she so richly deserves.

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