By Kayla Sosa | photography by Elyse Wild
For young artist Dayna Walton, art has always led her life.
“I’ve always made stuff and always had that as my income,” Walton said.
In 9th grade, she and a friend ran an Etsy shop where they sold handmade jewelry and clothing.
“I did a lot of stuff that was influenced by music, so earrings that look like tiny album covers, stuff like that,” Walton expressed.
Some of Waltons’ pieces took off on apps that are used to sell creative items, like DePop, Pinterest and Tumblr.
“It just took off on Pinterest and Tumblr and then people would order multiple [items] a day,” Walton said.
After graduating from Hudsonville High School, she attended Kendall College of Art and Design on a scholarship. She majored in illustration for three years before switching to printmaking. Today, she continues to sustain herself through selling her artwork, which includes paintings, prints, embroidery and graphic design, through her online shop, Solstice Handmade.
Much of Walton’s art is nature-inspired, as she is passionate about helping people understand and enhance what they see outdoors.
“I just like to draw what I get really excited about,” she expressed. “It’s usually things that you find out in the woods that you might not notice right away. It just never gets old.”
Two years ago, Walton completed a fellowship at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings, where she worked with eco printing. It was a turning point for her, and she began to take her art more seriously.
“I try to choose things that I want to highlight and celebrate and make people notice,” Walton said. “I did a lot of drawings that were site-specific and using only what I could see as reference.”
It’s no surprise that Walton is also interested in science, as her parents work in coding and engineering.
“I always had a lot of support in being interested in what art was about,” she said. “I love [science] — I really had to choose between going into science and art. This [art] is my way of still staying in touch with that and including it in my life.”
In addition to selling her work, Walton teaches art classes at Lions and Rabbits, a local art gallery and education center. Her latest artistic focus has been screen printing on things like posters and t-shirts.
“I try to focus on working with other people to create things that I couldn’t by myself,” she said. “Like I could print the fabric, but I don’t want to learn how to sew dresses. I don’t have the time and somebody else is better at that.”
Walton hopes to continue to learn, create and work with other artists in the community. This October, she will be doing artist-in-residence in the Smoky Mountains, where she will create nature-inspired artwork as part of a service project studying various types of moss.