Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Streufert.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My love of art and creating began at a very young age. I can still remember moments in time as a little girl where I would escape to my room, shut the door, and either re-organize everything or hang more artsy things on my walls. The design decisions were questionable then, but my parents never tried to tame my artsy vomit. Instead, my introverted mode of creating was fostered and supported.
I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have made it all the way through grad school had I not been able to doodle through pages of notes in every class growing up. I’m grateful to have been born in the nineties before the computer craze overtook education, or else I’m not sure I would have retained any information audibly thrown my way. I am, as you could guess, a visual learner. The act of writing things down, drawing, or creating informs my understanding of most everything. I enjoy observing patterns, places, and people; which over the years has aided in growing my perceptiveness and challenged me to consider what sort of social patterns I want to mimic or dismiss. I’m also apt to enjoy a variety of things, which left art on the sidelines at times when my left brain tendencies wanted to pursue the logical ways of business in college and the years that followed. Somehow, in the trenches of adult life and the consistency of a full-time gig (unrelated to art), my creative right brain has always led my body back to a simple desk late at night where I dream up how to make art a career. At times, it almost seems paradoxical to consider the whimsical and imaginative ways of creating a worthwhile pursuit to pay for life, as if so doing would never actually complete the success of it. Nonetheless, I’m eager to make this ‘way less [practically] traveled’ a viable option because I want to redefine my own view of success while also proving it’s a pathway worth continually weaving into the fabric of “practical society”.
To connect a few dots here, however, I will share how my left brain and right brain collided. That was in 2013 in my hometown of Chattanooga, TN.
After making some art gifts on the side in college while pursuing a sociology major and business minor, I left college in 2012 with a diploma, lack of direction, and really good memories. Playing college soccer aided in my first full-time job, as I was given the opportunity to stay on the coaching staff and work to invest in a soccer program that had impacted me so well. Sociology gave me the skills of diligent observation along with a relentless desire to question every social construct. This allowed me to care more deeply for people on the one hand while, on the other hand, left me wondering if the structure of life’s patterns really served to inhibit or free us. I dismissed the latter thoughts for several more years as I doodled notes through grad school, learning again to appreciate my education and utilize my network of supportive folks to figure out what was next. It was within those grad school years that my college friend Katie and I began to dream about art as a business endeavor. In 2013, “Twelve-O-Eight Studio” (@1208studio) was born. It was a studio we established out of the house we lived in during our post-college years, and the art was all about pyrography (wood burned) pieces that depicted the beauty of the outdoors. I will always remember those years fondly, as I learned how to integrate my business marketing brain with the creative side of things, and enjoyed working on art collaborations with one of my dearest friends.
I made Denver my home in early 2016 after seeking a new city to live life in, being that I’d gone to college and grad school just thirty minutes from my childhood home. I was ready for life in the Rockies, where a new mile marker on my trail could be forged westward. I’ve been really fond of that trail blaze for the past three and a half years as there’s something about leaving your comfort zone that allows you to grow more than classroom knowledge or a predictable atmosphere ever could.
So, to wrap this up, I’ve continued to live out of both sides of my brain, working in sports marketing in Colorado at a soccer club while also pursuing my art dreams more heavily. I sense the value of integrating myself into the community through sports, but I continue to feel the undying peace of the world as I break away to observe the beauty of my surroundings through hiking. The introverted art nights in Denver that now live under the name of “Peak One Art Studio” (@peakoneart) allow me to bring thoughts and experiences from the trails–both mine and yours–to life.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to pursuing art as a viable possibility has been anything but smooth. At times you could say I was my biggest enemy, allowing self-doubt to compound upon the already gloomy reality many artists hear, mostly about the prospect of “starving.” The world continues to promote and appreciate whatever it wants to uphold, and most often money is in the mix of every form of success (as if more of it could actually equate to happiness). Going against the grain of that dissatisfying logic are many types of people in a variety of industries, art or otherwise, but I’ve gained a lot of inspiration from other artists and musicians who passionately believe their work can benefit communities and impact culture. I’m grateful for the hard work and perseverance I’ve been able to admire in all those who have chosen to stir the pot, take a risk, and be open to the variety of outcomes that can occur in that pursuit.
While fear of the unknown ahead may be an ongoing challenge to wrestle with as I consider what life as a “full-time” artist could look like, I know there is just as much potential for disappointment in allowing the ways of the world to take away the joy that comes from sharing what no one else has yet created. I’ve lived a lot of my life fairly calculated and measured, and so I don’t intend to take the plunge sooner than I should, but I am determined to figure out what avenues might lead to some long-term consistency in this endeavor. The drive and perseverance I learned in soccer have easily transferred over to my artistic pursuits, and I’m very thankful for that. Just like playing in a game, I recognize there are clear times to attack with numbers up and times to hold fast defensively. Likewise, I am fond of the challenge to determine when I can feel the freedom to take a risk and go full speed ahead toward the goal.
Please tell us more about Peak One Art Studio – what should we know?
I just established Peak One Art Studio in May 2019 as a sole proprietorship. I work out of my in-home studio in Arvada, CO.
Peak One Art Studio is a collective of art, stories + design that exists to create blazes of beauty for the trails that have shaped us. The name ‘Peak One’ stems from how the Tenmile Range–and specifically Peak 1–in Summit County, CO has impacted my own life experiences, in both the extremes of pain and triumph within it. The main focus for the art is wood burned (pyrography) pieces, mostly of outdoor landscapes, but not limited to that. Conceptually, I want to create meaningful pieces of art for customers who desire to capture important mile markers or “blazes” of their lives through art and design. Beyond the wood burned work, I focus on drawing and sketching while dabbling in some painting on wood as well. As a marketing director in my day job, I’ve come to value the design aspect of sharing a brand and mission, so I am keeping several ideas on the table for how I want to grow the studio in the future through graphic design and branding. Beyond the visual arts, I love sharing others’ stories in writing, so with every custom piece created, a thoughtful story will follow as well.
Simply put, I think every crossroad that has allowed me to meet another person matters, and so I find great value in sharing parts of others’ lives that deserve to be dignified and cherished.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think staying focused on the essence of what I want this art studio to promote is key.
Our society has lost a desire to sit in and dig deeper into the mystery and intrigue of our neighbors’ (i.e. literal neighbors and even close family and friends) lives and replaced that pursuit with a more convenient, distant form of watching films, television, and trending social media crazes to give us a short-lived satisfaction of relating to our fellow man. Technology has done a lot of good, don’t get me wrong, but I want the natural depiction of real people’s stories through hand-crafted art to bring about a refreshing desire to observe things more slowly and get to know people better. I love creating art of important outdoor places in people’s stories because I think we often have more meaningful experiences there as we step away from the cogs that uphold society and embrace the freedom and unpredictability of the “wild places” with others. If my art can simply prompt people to more deeply observe the world around them and its impact on others, I’d consider that a form of success, albeit an unquantifiable one. Of course, the philosophical successes will have to weave themselves with commission goals, art festival acceptance letters, and other measurable forms of progress. 🙂
In short, though, Peak One Art Studio will seek to provide a breath of fresh air through meaningful art, stories + design.