Dana Walker, founder of Dana Walker Art & Design, is an abstract artist as well as a spiritual artist, best known for creating abstract art using American-made products. The works of art produced are all one of a kind, infused with spiritual energy, love, and time, so producing them often takes longer than people anticipate. While it has been a while since Walker’s last few pieces were seen, the artist announced that she’d soon be unveiling a couple of pieces currently in the works. While stating “they are not ready yet,” Dana believes that her latest work will motivate and inspire many.
Dana Walker was recently interviewed about her creative process and early life, which inspired her to become the artist she is today.
Interviewer: It’s a great privilege to speak with Dana Walker today. Dana, why don’t you give us a 50,000-feet view of yourself and your story and how you got to where you are today?
Dana Walker: Thank you, it is so great to be here and share my story with you all. A little bit of my back story… I grew up in an extremely loving home. I have a twin sister and growing up with a built-in best friend was my life’s first gift. Both of my parents were very artistic. They were also adamant about our education. “Work first play later” was our family motto.
Our parents were very involved in our lives, we read books together, studied together, went camping together multiple times a year, and they really taught us how to love. I often think of how blessed we were to have them as parents because we were literally made of love.
My mom got sick when we were 14 with lung cancer and died when we were 15. This was one of the most pivotal moments in my life. My dad, sister, and I were rather clueless as to how we would carry on. But, as with many of the challenges that come with life, time began to heal, and we found a new normal.
Shortly after my mom passed, I got my first job at 15, working as a hostess and busser at a restaurant in Redlands, CA. This job is where my love for people developed. I didn’t know then, but this would be the start of my next 20 years in the industry.
At 18, I graduated college and moved to San Diego, where I attended the Design Institute of San Diego and received a BFA in Interior Design. Shortly after graduation, I worked with my stepsisters, who were both designers, and this is where my love for the arts blossomed. I loved seeing how artwork, paintings, sculptures, and placements of these items could turn a house into a home.
Along with doing some design work, I continued working in a restaurant. The timing of all of this was in 2008, so new designers were having a rough time finding long-term, good-paying work. So I stayed in the bar scene; the term “golden handcuffs” had never been truer.
I stayed relatively content serving the people of my community for years after I graduated. It wasn’t until 13 years later when covid happened that the industry let me down. I lost my job because of the shutdown. The idea that this industry would ever stop before I needed it to was a foreign concept.
What was I going to do? Depressed, lost, and full of the unknown, I knew I had to use this as a sign to pick myself up and create a brand new life, a brand new me.
A few weeks went by where I had no idea of what to do. I kept asking myself what would I do? Who could I become? And then it hit me. I could create artwork and sell it locally. I could pursue my passion for yoga and fully immerse myself in the teachings that I always had “been too busy” to study. Because of Covid and the shutdown of the industry, the real question of “what would I do if I could do anything” arose in my Being. My answer was evident when I finally heard it. “I want to paint, create, and share yoga with the world.”
2020 was the year of perfecting my craft. I spent every day and many nights in my garage sometimes until the sun came up painting and creating. During my painting sessions, I only listened to lectures from spiritual teachers and documentaries regarding consciousness. I dove fully into the two things that I found so much passion in. I can’t express how amazing this time was. It was like I was reintroduced to myself. Having literal time to put the work in on me and my own growth was such a blessing.
I felt like I had finally found my calling. I felt like I had been re-lit from the inside out. I’m not saying that it was all easy and effortless. I spent well over a year studying and honing in on my artistic skills. I know that the first year of the pandemic was very burdensome for many, tragic for some, and extremely difficult for others, but this became an incredible blessing for me.
The start of 2021 came, and I began my first 100 hours of yoga teacher training. This experience with these fellow yogis and my spiritual teacher, who I also refer to as my spiritual mother, were some of the most life-changing moments of my life to date.
After completing that training, I joined the Alignment Engine, a program for spiritual entrepreneurs created by the group Reality Hacker. Michael and Dave, the founders of the company, helped guide entrepreneurs into alignment in all areas of their lives to actually realize the dreams they have for themselves and their businesses.
They inspired me to scale my business, digitize my artwork, take my artwork, and put it on products. This changed everything for me. The idea that I could transition out of the bar and have more time and freedom to do what I really loved became my new reality.
In the Alignment Engine, I met Troy. Troy is an artistic man who loves helping artists from all over the world put their artwork on sustainably made products and sell them on Amazon. Troy and I began to work together since we were both in the same field, and we are forever grateful for our professional relationship because of the Alignment Engine. Troy helped me build my website and set up my store in Amazon through his new company, the Renaissance Engine. This is where I suppose I say the rest is history, but for me, this is just the beginning!
Interviewer: People tend to only always see success. There is always a journey, and, in most cases, it was not a walk in the park. What were the life-changing challenges you just had to overcome and told yourself enough is enough! I need change right now.
Dana Walker: Working in the bar industry for years lead me to drink more than just socially or occasionally. From 21-27, in some of the places I worked, drinking was allowed. So instead of just drinking in my downtime to “unwind,” drinking was happening all the time, and it got to be excessive for me. About 8 years ago, when I was 27, I finally had enough. My body was unhealthy and tired, I was extremely depressed, and I was just so depleted of self-love. I knew that for me, nothing but negatives were coming from this self-sabotaging habit that had formed.
Once I stopped drinking, literally everything changed. I found yoga. I found hiking. I found healing through artwork, and I ultimately found myself. I also found true, healthy love with my partner Paul. A gift I could never have received had I still been consumed by drinking.
I’ll emphasize here that I don’t have any judgment towards people who drink. I love everything about the bar scene, I mean I have made a living off of being a bartender for the last 14 years. There was just a point that I had to cut out alcohol for my health and for my quality of life.
Interviewer: Ok, let’s get to the juicy part. What do you/or your company specialize in, and how are you different from the competition in your space?
Dana Walker: I create custom, one of a kind, original art pieces of all sizes. I then take those, have them photographed, and place these designs on different products that are made in America and infused with love and healing energy. I don’t necessarily have competition being that my art pieces are unique. I feel like the more artists out there, the better. I believe there are more than enough buyers and supporters in the world for us all to be able to create and be successful. Many artists share the same medium but there are never two of the same artist no matter how close the techniques.
Interviewer: What’s your one MUST do to anyone who wishes change and success in their life?
Dana Walker: My number one must-do is to meditate. Just 5-30 minutes a day every morning. This is the one tool I have been gifted that has allowed me to create this life. Through going inside and healing my inner world through quiet meditation, my external world has completely changed. They are one and the same. Our inner world is a direct reflection of our outer world. So being calm, kind, positive, compassionate, and enthusiastic on the inside is what I have created on the outside.
Interviewer: Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you? How does it define you?
Dana Walker: Success, to me, means having the freedom and time to do what truly inspires you. Success, to me, means sharing what I have with people who might be where I have been. Success also means being authentically me, staying true to the path of loving everyone unconditionally, and holding space for others in their healing. By getting more in terms of success, knowledge, or money, I have more to give back.
Interviewer: So, where to from here? What are the next big steps you’re planning?
Dana Walker: My next big steps are to get my designs on yoga mats and athletic clothing into yoga studios and some of the more prominent athletic distributors. LuluLemon is my absolute favorite yoga clothing brand, so to have a collaboration with them would be a dream come true. Same with Manduka and Gaiam. I would also love to collaborate with Barnes & Noble to get my journals in their stores as I am an avid reader. I’d love to support the places that have supported my growth.
I have also been dreaming up some wonderful retreats for artists and yogis.
Interviewer: Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Dana Walker: I am always available on social media, either Facebook or Instagram. You can also email me directly at email@example.com or send me an email through my website which is www.danawalkerdesigns.com