Artist Statement

Dakota Nyght - Artist StatementI’ve been fascinated with the natural world since I was old enough to eat dirt. (And apparently I ate plenty, until I was old enough to use play dough, which I apparently decided was “too dirty.” Go figure.) As an adult, the colors, texture and behavior of earth’s creatures are a never-ending source of entertainment. I love searching out insects, smelling flowers, and observing animal behavior. I’m extremely fortunate to live in Montana – right smack dab in the middle of a natural paradise.

Fantasy has also been a long time obsession of mine. I’ve steeped my brain in completely unrealistic realities for the last 20-odd years now… Lord of the Rings. Chronicles of Narnia. Dragonriders of Pern. I owe a tremendous debt of inspiration to these influences. Between the two – nature and fantasy – I’ve found an endless source of questions and what ifs.

For example; if penguins lived on the moon, what would they eat?

Although Nashvillian by birth, I consider myself a die-hard Montana girl. I grew up in Kalispell and graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Journalism in 2006. After postgraduate work at Montana Tech, my then-fiance and I scrambled to see who could find a job first – with understanding that we’d move to wherever the first person was employed. I desperately wanted to move home to Missoula, and I won! But, one wedding, two baby boys, and three jobs later – not necessarily in that order – I decided corporate life as a technical writer was not for me.

With my husband’s support, I began staying home with the kids and searched for a new direction. I tried a few other ventures on for size but nothing quite fit until, on a whim, I picked up my colored pencils and began to draw. My reasoning was that pencils are small, portable and projects are easy to stop and start. Ha! I’ve now taken over part of the living room with my “small” collection of colored pencils and art papers… but I couldn’t be happier.

I explore a combination of the patently absurd and what ifs of our natural world through my art work. As the mother of two young boys, I often find myself pointing out the magic of small things… the bright colors on a spider’s back, the inquisitive tilt to a crow’s head, the perfect bouquet of fall colors that nature provides for us. Children have a way of centering our attention on the magic of small things, and above all asking why.

What would a gnome’s house look like? Can robots fall in love? What do penguins dream about?

Indeed… what IF???