Dahlia's Creative Journey:
If you're reading this you probably know me from Instagram or TikTok, or perhaps your creative niece sent you my website because her birthday is coming up and she wants a poster. In short, you are likely here because you want to know who I am and where I came from.
Today I'm known for my imperfectionist-surreal style of art. I am also known for making fun videos about my art on social media. I’m grateful to say, many thousands of people see my art on a daily basis.
My current art is a happy combination of flowers, fungi, animals, and bright colors. But where did it begin?
The short version of my artistic journey:
Since I can remember I loved art, and had a flair for the dramatic. Theater and art were my two passions. At age 6 I began to declare that I would one day be famous. In my suburban New England town I was told by other children and adults that this was unrealistic and I, a child, should let go of my dreams.
My belief in myself was never diminished by the naysayers. I pitied those who had given up on their dreams and vowed to myself I would never give up on mine. Now at the age of 27 I thank myself everyday that I believed all those years.
At the age of 16, after being a lead in my school play I noticed that I did not like being told how to express myself. Scripts and choreography were not for me. I quickly realized that the place I loved most at school was the art room. I spent every spare moment making art and being in the art room. And my highschool art teacher Mr.Pickman was one of few people who always encouraged my pursuits. He would often say to me “don't forget the little people like me when you’re famous”. One teacher’s encouragement can cause great good in the world.
I spent my summers in highschool learning the technical skills of drawing from my grandmother Nira Raz. She is an incredible sculptor and has an extensive background in painting and drawing too.
When I finished highschool in my town there was one option, and that was college. There had never been a question of if I should go to college, only a question of where. If I had to go to college I knew it would be art school. So in 2014 I made my way to an art school in Boston. I hated every moment there. The professors were nothing like my art teachers in highschool. They told me what to make, and then would tell me I did it wrong. I would often-times have to re-make assignments because I did not do them “correctly”. I was told that if I made my art messy I had no future as a professional artist.
After one year I knew that there was no value for me in art school, so I dropped out.
I realized that the secret to success as an artist was not merely making “good art” (whatever that means). It lies in understanding business. So I began to read business books and listen to podcasts on the subject. I listened to people like Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Marie Forleo and many other amazing creative entrepreneurs. Since dropping out of art school in 2015 I have read over 60 business and self development books. I took a business of music class at Berklee college of music in 2016, because I believed that musicians knew more about business than painters. The principles I learned at Berklee about the music business I have most definitely applied to my work as an artist.
If you want to be a professional artist you have to understand business - without an understanding of business art is your hobby not your career.
In 2019 I did extensive online research as to what were the up and coming social media platforms. I joined five of the platforms I found through this research. Four of the social media apps I joined you have likely never heard of, but one of the apps I found was called TikTok. In February of 2019 I posted my first ever TikTok video. It was a horizontal, timelapse video I made on my GoPro. It did not get many views. But I kept posting on TikTok and 4 other social media apps. Until one day a video reached 2.4 million views! I couldn’t believe it. That video got my first 10,000 followers on TikTok.
Now, more than 1,000 TikTok videos later, and three and a half years into this journey I have reached over 200,0000 followers. I built a following on Instagram in the last few years too and dropped most of the other apps I had experimented on.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020 I decided to make happy art and art advice videos. And that was when my audience really grew. It quickly went from 20,000 followers in 2019 to 140,000 in 2020.
People sometimes ask me, “what is the secret to growing on TikTok or Instagram?” So for you, the person who has read until this point, I will tell you the secret. In 2020 I stopped asking “how can I grow on social media” - I asked “how can I use videos to make people’s life better?”
The moment I decided I was going to help people by making positive happy videos, was the moment that everything changed.
Now I ask myself, how can I make people’s lives better via my social media platforms?
I can tell them to create more, because creating brings me joy and I believe, will bring them joy too.
I can tell them to be kinder to themselves, because I know they will be kinder to others too if they are kinder to themselves.
I can tell them to enjoy life, because this is it, our one and only chance at a grand adventure.
Now I am an imperfectionist surrealist painter. Making large and small paintings every day and sharing my creations on social media.
Life is an adventure, and art is a way to enjoy and celebrate what it means to exist.
Let’s go create and celebrate our miraculous lives!
For more information here is my FAQ page.