Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Montlack.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dana. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I was 15 when I went to work at my grandfather’s medical clinic. Initially to help out with filing and answering phones, I soon grew bored and restless. My grandfather realized that in order to keep me there and therefore out of trouble he needed to engage me in another way. A very smart and amazing man, he instead taught me how to take and develop X-rays. That was my first introduction to photography. The “darkroom” was a converted closet that was literally 3 x 4 feet.Watching the image appear was magical – little did I know how much this would influence my work as an artist. I always liked looking at medical journals with pictures of cells and loved peering under the microscope. I was fascinated by the ability to see beyond the naked eye. This began my exploration of creating art that referenced the unseen world in both nature and science.
We are 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?
I think there are many ways to pursue one’s passion. For me, I felt like I did not have a choice in the matter of becoming an artist. Doing anything else seemed false and unfulfilling. With that said, choosing to be an artist full-time does take a lot of tenacity and courage. There are many rocks in the river.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Studio Montlack story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a fine art photographer. I have a BFA from the University of California Santa Cruz and an MFA from Otis Parsons School of Art and Design. I create images that are about the environment with an emphasis on marine life. I use microscopes and scanners to capture images that are not easily seen by the naked eye. I juxtapose scientific data, bathymetric charts, nautical charts, and maps to create visions of natural interconnectedness. I am honored to have my work collected in both private and public spaces such as the Whitney Marine Biology Research Center; Atlantis The Palm, Dubai; Scripps Memorial Hospital; and Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. In addition, my work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the globe. I am privileged to work with esteemed scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and to have participated in the creation of projects such as “Ocean Tunnel” for Burning Man. These organizations continue to inspire and educate me in ways I could have never imagined.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure I believe in luck. It is more about perseverance and determination. It is about showing up for work, even when you feel uninspired and frustrated. It is about educating yourself through art and art history. It is about finding your voice, believing it matters, and learning how to communicate it.
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