• Dana Sayre

I'm an Artist

I can recall the exact moment I called myself an artist. It was about two years after I received my BFA in Graphic Design. I was working a 9-5 gig in Boone, NC; I’d come home to paint. Painting was simply a creative release, exploring color and technique.

Giving myself room to play, helped me to discover a love for watercolor and ink. Mostly my art was (and still is) an abstract exploration of lines, color and balance. Blobs and scratch marks meeting another blob and zig-zag line. Every now and then I would doodle a flower, something I knew how to draw.

One day while sitting on my apartment floor painting, I whipped out an expressive red floral watercolor. This was my Mom’s flower, the one she doodled so many times on the phone. She’d sit on a call with a friend, doodling the same flower over and over. It made me smile. She didn’t even realize it was something she did- she just did it.

Mom's flower doodle

The flower became a symbol of my Mom. The expressive red flower watercolor was a defining moment in my art history. I looked at my creation and spoke aloud, “I am going to have an art show.”

A few months later, I presented my work to a local gallery in Boone, NC. The Nth gallery agreed to present my work. I was an artist! Almost immediately, my spine got taller and I took myself more seriously. It was time to frame pieces and price them. What was my value? I began to explore myself as an artist on a level I had never considered.

The first painting that sold, was the flower watercolor! My friend Donna purchased it for her daughter’s bedroom. YES! I really was an artist. My Mom and Kate drove up from Charlotte to support me. It was absolutely magical. I sold six painting that night. Success!

In high school, I didn’t take any art classes. I never even considered the idea that artist could make a living. My Mom was artistic but her mom boo-hooed the idea of embracing an artistic life. It was a trade that was frowned upon in our family.

Art just seemed free and alive… I wanted that.

I remember the moment in college I called my Mom telling her that I wanted to be a Graphic Designer. I didn’t have an art portfolio (and that was a requirement to get into the art program), I didn’t really have any idea what graphic design meant. I just knew that I needed creativity in my life and a degree in psychology was not going to do it for me.

Mom gave me the support I needed to try for a dream. “Go for it”, she exclaimed without hesitation or question. I think she just trusted the journey

After five years at App State, I graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design.

I say with immense pride, that I have worked as a graphic designer for the last 15 years. I have designed marketing materials, candy wrapper art, basic website design and instruction manuals. I have used my degree every year, since graduation. Wow.

Just like painting, I find release in certain aspect of design. Most consistently, creating logos is a recharge for me. It’s a problem to solve that involves a specific recipe of creativity, wit and my beloved Adobe Illustrator. Recently I purchased a drawing tablet (thank you Andy Hunt for the help). I used it to draw a rose and design my friend Lyndsay’s logo.

Every opportunity to design, inherently becomes an opportunity to develop as a designer. I absolutely love the process. The journey continues.

(Need a logo? Email danasayredesigns@gmail.com)

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