We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Ann Dutkiewicz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily Ann, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Growing up an only child I always gravitated towards any and all artistic outlets. Maybe this was because I didn’t have any siblings and with my family picking up and moving every few years, the arts was something I could practice independently and participate in no matter where I went. Constantly traveling throughout my childhood allowed me to become inspired from all of the different places we’d lived. As I got older I realized my connection to creativity developed into a lens that I chose to live through. In high school and college is when I really started to understand how art was intertwined to every aspect of our lives. I became aware of the idea of self-identity. While I live to make art, my decision of pursuing a creative career was to be able to share this awareness with others. I am a working artist as well as a high school art teacher and the most common feelings I hear verbalized about art “I can’t make art whatsoever” “I don’t know how to understand art” “art is not for me” and to all of these statements I simply disagree. My passion behind a career as an art teacher is to enable young minds into the understanding that art isn’t only for viewing but it is for living. Giving young minds more accessibility to art is crucial for developing their own identity. This is what fuels me to teach and not only make. When I am not teaching and fueling someone else’s desire to create, I am a creator myself; I am a painter and photographer. Knowing that I live through a lens perhaps more abstract than others is all the more reason I knew I was meant to pursue an artistic career. I live for creatively impacting others whether they are students in my classrooms or viewers at a gallery.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am enthralled by the American West. As mentioned, I grew up moving around the United States getting the chance to experience what life was like from the east coast to west coast and everything in between. I grew up riding horses and loved the outdoors which developed into a much richer and cultural understanding over the years. I started to learn about what it meant to be a cowboy or rancher. I think when most people hear this they sort of chuckle and think of old western films, lassos, and John Wayne. Hollywood’s depiction of the American West is quite entertaining but my art is deeply rooted with how the American West is a lifestyle and not only what we see on a silver screen. Ideas like farming/agriculture, cattle ranching, family, tradition, livestock, horses, western landscapes, western wildlife, and rodeo are the anchoring ideas behind my artwork. I know the spirit of the cowboy is not dead and so I share this through a modern lens. Riding horses and owning horses has taught me so much about soul and connection. The connection and freedom I feel on the back of a horse is the same that a cowboy feels to his horse as he does to his land. There’s a lot of heart and soul in the men and women who choose to live in the American west and earn a living by providing for the rest of us. Getting to where I am today. I started exploring in college. Applying to art exhibitions and promoting my art where I could had set a small but sturdy foundation to navigating the art world. I enjoy art exhibitions where I can connect with an audience and learn from other artists exhibiting around me. At 22 years old I would say I am still developing as an artist but I can clearly distinguish my progress from when I started painting and photographing many years ago. I am grounded in my subject matter and have cleat cut processes for the artwork I make. I can look at my paintings and photographs and identify that they are mine; they all share a style that I have cultivated and shaped over the years. This is important to me as a young artist. I don’t have decades of exhibiting and sales experience under my belt but I make a consistent effort to create, share, and expand my art. I am learning how to make my mark and a reputation for myself. I try to throw myself into different opportunities to learn as an artist or showcase my work to a wide range of audiences. Challenges…we all have them! Exhibition experience was something that took some time to build. I have had the pleasure of being able to exhibit around southern California in different kinds of exhibition settings. I quickly learned the different dynamics of galleries and booths. While both have their perks, I learned I like booths more. Exhibiting with a booth allows me to curate my space and really engage with my audience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love that San Diego can cater to all of my interests. While perhaps I’m a country girl at heart, San Diego can offer me and my friends a balance of equine activities, a thriving art scene, sun soaked beaches, and different cuisine every night. With visitors from out of town I’d want to showcase a couple different places to stay! My favorite places to stay include Pendry San Diego and Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. Pendry offers premier luxury in the heart of the Gaslamp where my guests and I can walk to all of San Diego’s hottest bars and restaurants. Pendry has one of my favorite craft beer bars called Nason’s Beer Hall where we can enjoy a wide variety of local and international beer. This beer hall has old school vibes recreated with modern design. It’s not your dad’s beer hall! Out in the city we’d have lunch at Panama 66, a casual outdoor eatery located in central Balboa Park. A whole day can be spent in Balboa park visiting various arts museums and attending local events varying throughout the year. Another place I like to stay to get just a few miles away from the heart of the city is Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. Estancia has a much more quaint and rustic atmosphere hidden in the hills of la Jolla. Staying here I love to head to downtown la Jolla for dinner and dine at Puesto for modern Mexican-American faire. Their tacos are amazing paired with an ice cold margarita! Right down the block from Puesto is the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. A historic building filled with artistic archives sure to fill your creative curiosity. Another gallery worth a visit is the Thumbprint Gallery for some local contemporary art. For my equestrian fix, taking friends to Del Mar is a must! Local shows like the Del Mar International horse show or Grand Prix will satisfy the seasoned equestrian and curious spectator! Looking for equine apparel and shopping we’d have to stop by Mary’s Tack and feed after the show. Spending time up the coast at some north county beaches like Beacon’s beach, Encinitas and Tamarack, Carlsbad is a sure way to unwind. I am lucky that I get to visit these spots the most living in north county myself.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first people that come to mind are my loving and supportive parents as I know I wouldn’t have grown up with such courage and confidence to pursue a creative career without them. How can you not shout out your parents right?! But in this case, there is a professor that comes to mind who was beyond influential in my career as a painter. Her name is Doris Bittar, an interdisciplinary artist based out of San Diego. While her own portfolio includes more than painting, I met her as a student who was not thrilled about attending a painting class. Fast forward 5 years later and I will tell you that my medium of choice is paint. Many people would have assumed I painted my whole life and are usually surprised to learn that I only decided to be a painter as an adult. Before I was a painter I primarily worked within photography and illustration and had a rather… undeveloped style. Part of getting a degree in art included painting which I was open to learning but never really thought I’d have success in. I was so fearful to put paint on a canvas and step out of my comfort zone. I had a pretty narrow idea of what it meant to be a painter assuming I was intended to master the skill of still life painting and know how to blend with oil paints. During each class, Doris would take time to get to know every student as an artist and individual pushing each of us in our own direction. She was patient and open minded. She taught me the possibilities of putting paint on a canvas in a less traditional way. She truly harbored an environment for her students to experiment and find their own style as painters. Under her instruction I developed my own individual process and style I use for every painting. I started to throw my creative fear to the wind and began painting with purpose. She would say things like “let the painting talk, don’t control every mark” , “let the colors have more than one purpose”. I think it’s easy for developing artists to want to compartmentalize every aspect of their artwork aiming for accuracy and perfection. Doris taught me to let that go; although a tough habit to break, once I was able to do this I found success in my painting. I started to gravitate towards the brightest colors I could find coupled with the largest canvasses. She instilled confidence in me I wouldn’t have otherwise. I cannot make a painting without thinking of her.