Artist spotlight: Danielle Dahlke

Paul Karner

Danielle Dahlke, a junior art major from Antigo, Wis., brought a bit of playful profundity to the minds of Main Hall passersby with her new installment entitled “Cheetah.” Many students were momentarily amused and undoubtedly perplexed as the frosted snowmobile resting beneath the front steps caught their eye. “The actual creation came about because of my seeing something beautiful about basic everyday things,” explained the artist. “It has to do with my impracticalities and idealism, versus realism and practicality. The frosting does hold many of it’s own connotations of domesticity and femininity, which are meant to be more subtle undertones.”
Dahlke has enjoyed the curious glances and delightful smirks her piece has elicited. She’s managed to maintain an innocent appreciation for the wonder of beauty while pursuing art in the academic world. Dahlke’s passion for art shone through even as a small child, when she scribbled on her newly painted bedroom walls.
“I used whatever I could get my hands on to draw on,” Dahlke said. “I guess I knew a blank canvas when I saw one.” Her parents weren’t artists themselves– her father ran a business specializing in snowmobiles and water sports — but they were nonetheless supportive throughout her creative endeavors.
By age 8, her creativity had begun to take shape as she began painting. Dahlke went on to take painting classes at the California College of Art, and arrived at Lawrence in the fall upon graduating from high school. After a year, however, she transferred to the Massachusetts College of Art after being accepted to their undergraduate program. After a finishing the year at MassArt, Dahlke decided to return to Lawrence. “I guess I just realized that my work comes from me,” said Dahlke, “whereas before I felt that what school I went to vindicated my work.”
Dahlke hopes to go on to receive her Master of Fine Arts and ultimately share her passion for art with college students as a professor. “For a community, the arts are essential,” said Dahlke, “a sign of life rather than just basic survival.