Art Collecting

Madison Valley Artist Trades 3-D Design Work For Paint, Easel | Pro Club Bd

Working in an office with her husband Matt for years, Danika Wright first digitally created film sets and props for movies in Southern California and then designed video games in Seattle.

Now the small office they share in their home just outside of Madison Park doubles as an art studio, and Wright is more often in front of an easel with a brush than in front of a computer screen and mouse.

Her later career transition from 3D designer to visual artist was more of a return to her roots than a sudden, dramatic life choice.

“I’ve always loved art and painting,” Wright said. “I didn’t really think you could make a living from traditional art.”

While she received her Fine Arts degree from California State University Fullerton, she also took flight classes because she thought she would earn her living as a pilot and paint on the side. As her career began in the studio creating models and props for films, and then transitioned to video games, thoughts of a side job as a painter to earn an income faded into the background.

After 10 years in Seattle’s male-dominated video game industry, with few female colleagues but lots of long hours and late nights, and then having a son old enough to go to school, Wright reconsidered the idea of ​​being a traditional full-time artist again to become. This time with serious consideration. After discussing it with her husband and realizing the feasibility, Wright cut her computer graphics work in half and went back to school to hone her painting techniques. She studied with Tenaya Sims at the Georgetown Atelier for four years before completing her training at Aristide’s Atelier through the Gage Academy on Capitol Hill, where she attended for two years and attended workshops on the side.

“I came out with a lot of great skills that I didn’t have before,” Wright said.

Wright said that while she knew being a full-time artist would be hard work, she was prepared for it.

“I’ve always had a job,” she said. “I’ve been working since I was 15 years old.”

However, working a job that didn’t guarantee a steady income was another matter.

“It was a really difficult concept to grasp,” Wright said.

She still remembers the day she sold her first painting.

“I was excited. That was when I was still in school,” Wright said. “I sold that for $1,000.”

While this painting depicted a still life, Wright’s favorite subjects are people, and she likes her series to follow a theme, usually with a nod to activism. Her latest series of paintings is A Celebration of Women, inspired by Melinda Gates’ book The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

Before that, she did a series on climate change and was inspired by climate activists and in particular the youth climate movement led by Greta Thunberg.

Wright is currently researching ideas for a new series in which accomplished women in history do the work they have become famous for.

However, finding realistic images or documented images to use as reference has been a challenge, so Wright said she is exploring different ideas.

“I have a problem. I have to finish one piece and get it where I like it before I can move on to another,” she said.

The process she follows when creating a piece is methodical and the process is thoughtful and conscious.

“It can easily take three weeks to a month to complete a piece,” she said.

And while she’s confident in her art, Wright says she’s still learning the business side of selling her paintings, which they don’t teach in art school and which she describes as “a process.”

She said she dislikes the marketing aspect of the business the most, finding it a tedious but necessary evil to constantly have to apply through social media posts, updates on her website and through more traditional channels. And then Wright must weigh the pros and cons of showing her art in a museum or submitting it to a competition rather than offering it for immediate sale.

When Wright puts a painting or drawing up for sale immediately and acts as her own agent by selling it through her website, she must first agonize over the price. If it goes too high, she risks collectors deciding that the price exceeds the painting’s value and then not buying it.

On the other hand, if Wright underprices and undervalues ​​her art, a collector might think it’s not valuable or worthless, and it won’t sell.

However, if Wright chooses to sell her work through a gallery, professionals will set the price, taking the guesswork out of her, but they also take a 50 percent commission, cutting her profit in half, and she can’t meet the price collectors, which she also dislikes.

“The goal really is to make enough of my living to have some steady income and do something I enjoy,” Wright said. “It always feels good when someone resonates with something I’ve painted or created. What a huge compliment.”

And Wright feels the same thrill when someone buys one of her artworks now that she did after selling her first painting.

“Most of the time it just gives me the warmth and fuzzy that people are spending their hard-earned money on something I’ve created and putting it up in their home,” she said.

To see Wright’s paintings and drawings, visitors can visit her website or follow her on Instagram at

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