We had the good fortune of connecting with Dana Streufert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dana, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Soon after graduating from college, I opened up a side art business with a friend in Tennessee so we could pursue a hobby we loved part-time in the hours after our full-time day jobs. Our small studio business was a place where we could dream big dreams about art becoming something more, but always alongside the safety and security of other jobs that routinely paid our bills. Even while I still crave for art to evolve into my life’s work one day, this stability and safety net of other jobs has remained my mode of operation for the last eight years since college. At times I have been persuaded by my own doubts to believe the art dreams might best belong underneath my pillow at night. Yet every time I find myself in a place where I am trying to accept the notion that safety and comfort must prevail over the risk of pursuing something I love, I conclude that my longing to give more of my time to art is truly a longing for a deeper, more meaningful life. Sometimes I don’t have the words to explain it, but I feel I am created to pursue the beauty and challenges of creating. The setbacks and doubts will be present while art is either a part-time or full-time pursuit; my dreams are not void of a realistic understanding of various outcomes. I also know there are repercussions to both options, in keeping going or giving up, and I am certain I am more willing to accept the failure of moving forward with my dreams (and not seeing them fulfilled) over the regret of never chasing them. These contemplations of outcomes are how I know it is important to keep moving forward. Art is life in every way for me as I so vividly experience God in my enjoyment of it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My primary form of art is wood burning on birch wood panels. I established Peak One Art Studio in May 2019 on the basis that wood burned art would be the primary art form of the studio. I hope to continue this focus as I think wood burning is a bit more unique than other mediums. It seems to be growing in popularity–which is pretty cool too–but for now I value that it’s still making its way onto the art scene, so to speak. My alternative mediums to work with are graphite or pen + ink drawings. I dabble in some painting on wood at times too. It probably needs to be mentioned that my preferred subject is mountainous landscapes, with any sort of outdoor landscape being a solid second. What excites me most about pursuing art more heavily is the opportunity to make it more accessible to others. Through wood burning workshops, I hope to encourage others’ creativity in new ways. We all are creative beings, and I hope to inspire others to give wood burning a shot–even if it simply remains a hobby for others on a rainy day. The other part of pursuing art that excites me is the continued opportunity to create memorable pieces for folks to display in their homes. Whether it’s a piece from one of my original series or a commission, I love to hear how my artwork resonates with the buyers. I love hearing their stories and how their trails of life have been shaped. Art is to be shared, simple as that. This is what gives me joy in creating. As pursuing art in a more full-time capacity is still very much in the works, I am continually learning that things we love involve sacrifice. I am prepared for the trail to be arduous at times, and at other times incredibly rewarding. And much like a good hike with old or new friends, the journey always seems more enjoyable when community is incorporated in some way, so I’m eager to give back to some great organizations through my art too. With these thoughts I go back to the concept of my studio name, Peak One, named after my favorite Colorado peak and hike: The trail is full of steep climbs, relaxing descents and incredible views, and I’m prepared to embrace all parts. It was important to me to include this concept in my brand name as it speaks into the entirety of our life experiences so well.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take friends that are visiting for a week to a few places in Denver first (to get them acclimated to being in the Mile High City). On the itinerary for day one would be coffee + breakfast at Hunter Bay Coffee in Olde Town Arvada, followed by a short hike at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, then some shopping in downtown Golden and dinner back in Olde Towne at School House Kitchen and Libations. On day two I’d take them on some road biking trails in downtown Denver starting at the REI so we could end there and grab a Starbucks drink + shop for some sweet outdoor gear while commenting about the old vibe feel of the refurbished factory store. We’d take a quick walk up and down 16th street and stop at the Patagonia store to check out the sales racks and then stop into the I Heart Denver store too. After that we’d head to Union Station and grab a late lunch at Snooze so long as the wait isn’t too long. We’d go home and shower and then grab drinks and dinner at The Family Jones Spirit House in the Highlands, followed by dessert at Little Man’s Ice Cream (ice cream is under the assumption they come during warmer weather, of course!). On the third day, I’d take them on a drive to Evergreen Lake and we’d eat out at Murphy’s Mountain Grill in downtown Evergreen. If they came during the winter months, we’d go ice skating on the lake first! On the fourth day, we’d cruise up the hill to Summit County while I talk their ears off about how much I love Lake Dillon and the surrounding mountain towns of Keystone, Frisco and Breckenridge. We’d go on a shorter easy to medium hike in the area and then grab some cookies at Mountain Top Cookie Shop and cram the buttery goodness down our throats because we deserved it after tromping around the forest. We’d spend some time shopping and doing all the touristy things on Main Street too… maybe grab some food at Breckenridge Brewery or back at Dillon Dam Brewery near the lake. We’d go out on my paddle board (or rent a few) on Lake Dillon and then call it a day after watching the sunset. Once back in Denver and after a day of rest, their final stop would be a jaunt up North Table Mountain to see some elk at a distance, along with a cool view of Denver far off in the distance. I’d drop them off the next day at DIA for their flight home and ask them to train a little bit before returning so we could tackle Peak One during their next trip. They’d be moving and exploring the outdoors almost non-stop the entire visit, but that’s why people visit Denver, right?! If they had any specific stops in mind based off their own research, I’d accommodate for that too, of course. 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to Katie Robinson, my good friend and former Twelve-o-Eight Studio business partner who spent countless hours creating with me and encouraging my love for art while we lived together in Tennessee. She never once questioned the possibility of having art be something more in either of our lives if we ever chose to chase it. I am so thankful for her listening ear and heartfelt friendship. I miss our days of creating together. I also acknowledge the continued support from my boyfriend Justin as he has supported my work in so many ways–from his graphic design help in transferring my drawings into prints to encouraging me to pursue my craft to being a supportive and insightful presence as I consider how to grow my business. Dreams don’t often take shape upon the approval of others as they are often full of a few ‘wild ideas’ that live outside the mainstream or comfortable way of things, so I am thankful these two value art and recognize its importance in my life. I also thank my parents and sister, who with every text reply following my art updates have routinely supported my creativity. I am glad art held such a valued space in my home growing up. On a general level, I am grateful to all the customers and friends who have purchased a piece I’ve created or sent a kind remark about one. It goes a long way in encouraging my dreams and I hope my work continues to bless others in some sort of way, big or small.
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-streufert-4078a132/ and https://www.linkedin.com/company/36919391/