from the Artist,
Dawn Schmidt Ventimiglia:
"It's not talent, but the
fact that you create, whether through paint, dance, song, or
poem, that makes you an artist. If I do not make that leap to
portray what I envision in my heart, my soul will wither away to
non-existence. Portraying my version of my vision is my feeble
attempt of connecting with the Divine, my prayer, an
appreciation for all that surrounds us.
I am a survivor left with an intense awareness of my
surroundings and the subtle architecture of life within arm's
reach. I hear music in paintings...seriously.
I am, therefore, I paint...I am motivated to create when I see
the 'simply intricate' that surrounds us, so I paint forms and
colors that intrigue me. To see someone's face light up when
they 'get it' gives me a great feeling!
I strive to portray my
subjects in an intimate way, and my goal is to capture moments
that we may miss or take for granted: a creature basking in the
sun or the unhurried stretching of a wing...the beauty that is
around, and within, not only us, but also each other. I paint,
therefore, I am.
The blood that flows through the trees also flows through my
veins, and my breath will someday cradle a bird in flight. I
paint, therefore, I am. I wish for you to play daily, begin your
dreams, say 'I love you' often, eat the oranges mindfully, and
make your lives a prayerful dance of peace. Peaceful
Journeys...Pass It On."
collectors and bike owners across the United States, as well as
Canada, Nepal, Thailand, France, Great Britain, Spain, and
Danville Regional Airport (CAP); PACE Podcast, Roman Eagle Memorial Home;
Explorers Preschool (Madison, WI); AZ Roller Derby: Holly Would
#411; Orde Advertising; Dollylocks Salon; Indian Stuff;
Performance Plus Marine; JeckleArt; DustiCat Creations; Pier 1
Imports; Nebraska Archeology Society; BikerBuddy.net; Temple
Terrace Youth Basketball; and other corporate accounts.
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Words from the Artist
Dawn has been creating commissioned works since the age
of 15. She spent many years touring the Midwest and East
Coast as a musician singing and playing guitar and
keyboard. After "semi-retiring" from the
music business (bands
are listed below),
she opened The Sentiment Shop in central Wisconsin,
selling antiques and her handcrafted items. She also
wrote articles and gave presentations about antiques,
music, and decorating while running the
shop. Moving to Green Bay, WI, she painted signs
and billboards, and did marketing and web work
for a large company there, all while performing in her band
She moved to Florida in 2000 with her best friend, and
they opened an imports store which also showcased Dawn's art.
With Dawn's murals on the
wall, to the tiki check out stand made by her partner,
to the scent of incense, the African drums, and Buddhist
prayer flags,the shop had quite an
atmosphere! She also did henna on clients in the store, and
attended area events in traditional tribal costume,
teaching about henna's 5000-year-old symbolism. Dawn's
life changed dramatically when she was robbed at
knifepoint in the store on April 4th, 2003. This
incident and others were a catalyst for PTSD
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but she has found
coping skills through her great friends, music, and her
"turn of the century", Dawn had picked up an airbrush
(and a pinstriping brush), and likened airbrushing to the finesse of
tattooing. Her first
airbrushing job was prepping and airbrushing 40' race
boats in the Florida heat!
In 2011, Dawn hosted a weekly live TV show which featured local
artists and performers, and the experience of interviewing other creatives
unleashed a flurry of creative activity for Dawn. (You can view
videos of her programs on her Eclectic Dawn Arts youtube
She was given an honorary membership to the Danville Art League
for her educational presentations, and was a member of Dan River
Art Works, where her work was shown and sold. She sells her
one-of-a-kind pieces through etsy, and various galleries, and also has two online shops
which offer pre-printed gifts and clothing featuring her art. She
started teaching bellydancing in her early 50's (as "Madlenka"), and that led to
creating her flash card deck for bellydancers, and bellydance accessories including
embellished belts, feather and flower fascinators, upcycled
dance clothing, and
hand-dyed silk veils. As a bellydance teacher, she focuses on
technique, AmCab/"old school" Egyptian style and improv work, and gives
individual attention to each student to help them find their
In 2012, she was a part of the "Danville Fashion Team," along with
photographer, Sally Susan Popu, for IFVA (In Frame Visual Arts magazine). Issue 6 featured Dawn's bellydance
clothing and accessories, while issue 7 showed off some of Dawn's steampunk
her custom art in
her Virginia studio, The Kukui Lagoon, which is done up like a vintage tiki bar, complete with superb mood lighting, and an LP collection that is played on a *gasP* actual RECORD PLAYER! She schedules
custom hand-painted murals and canvases in between airbrush projects,
and also loves to pinstripe purses and drink trays, or dive into
meditative painting on her tribal bowls (available in
her etsy shop). There
is never a dull moment in the Kukui Lagoon! Some days it's paint
slinging, some days it's bowl sanding, and some days the
sewing machine is rocking the studio!
Dawn has her hands full with her art, teaching and playing music (she also started teaching her Middle Eastern Rhythm Exploration beginners doumbek classes in 2013),
along with vending at events, bellydancing, hosting haflas for local bellydancers, and
writing, yet she still finds time for adventures with her husband such as camping, flea
markets, Fairy Stone hunting, photo days, or museum haunting. Dawn is an ocean lover, and enjoyed
exploring Florida beaches while living there, and treasures
memories of snorkeling in Maui and the Dominican Republic.
won multiple awards for her airbrushed motorcycle work. Her "Mermie"
motorcycle (now in CA), which is a total coverage
waves, water, dolphins and a mermaid, won
"Best of Show Honda",
at Biff Burger's Bike of the Year Show in St. Petersburg, FL,
which had over 100 entries. She
has also won a "Top Runner Up",
and numerous second place awards at venues around the Tampa
area. Two of her bikes have appeared in major motorcycle
magazines, and her ACE Tourer
garnered a second place award in its first showing, and has also
won a "Best Overall" trophy, amongst other awards.
Dawn married JohnnyV in April, 2006, in Key West, Florida. They
moved to Danville, Virginia, in January, 2007, along with their crazy Min Pin, Bella. Bella, the original EDA Quality Control Expert, was set free from her cancer in 2013, and John and Dawn adopted the wacky and foxy Lola shortly thereafter, and they continue to build, upcycle, explore, teach, and paint together.
* Dawn assists with the Danville Parks and Rec bellydance classes, with her warm ups and drills. Jan. 2014
* Dawn is asked to become the first bellydance teacher at Front Porch Fest (Stuart, VA), a 3-day, non-stop music festival hosting dozens of acts. 2013
* Teaches "Fun, Not Fear" bellydance improv workshop in Danville, VA, at The Dance Space, July, 2013.
* "Oasis Elements" (Dawn "Madlenka", and Meesha) perform at Darbukastan Independence Days, June, 2013.
* Dawn starts teaching her Middle Eastern Rhythm Exploration beginner's doumbek class. 2013.
* Dawn's students
perform for the first time at the Haunted Harem Hafla, 2012.
* Started teaching bellydance classes in 2012 (monthly
sessions), as well as teaching Middle Eastern Drum Exploration
(beginner's doumbek classes which explore bellydance rhythms).
* Hosted a Nina Amaya (of Baltimore) bellydance workshop for the Danville
area dance community. January, 2012
* Published "Madlenka's Raqs al Sharqi Cards", a tool for
bellydancers to practice their moves. January, 2012
Presentation to Danville Art League at Danville Museum of
Fine Arts and History about the mural process and business,October,
2011. Made Honorary Member of the DAL.
* Bellydance performance at Dan River Art Works "Bra Show and
Auction" for a local chapter of Susan Komen Foundation (also
painted and donated a bra). Oct. 2011
* Hosted "Heart of the Arts" weekly live television program.
2011. Guests have included The Danville
Symphony, Lee Sandstead of the Travel Channel's "Art Attack",
Union Street Theatre, Averett Theatre Department, Rankine Roth
(sculptor), Harry Aron (painting ministry), and various local
artists and performers. The show gets behind the scenes and into
the heart of the artists work. You can view the shows on Dawn's
* Judged art entries at Festivus (Dan River Art Works) along
with Kenneth Bond (Averett University) and BethAnn James (local
* Member of Dan River Art Works gallery, making her first sale
hours after bringing in her tribal bowls. Sept. 2011
* Traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, to paint ten more realistic
murals at Little Explorers (in addition to the 2000 sq ft she
completed in 2007). Murals
included Amazon, Caribbean, Andes, Tundra, Enchanted Forest, and
others. July, 2011.
music entries of the Rockingham County Arts Festival, NC, June,
Artist opened her Etsy shop featuring her hand crafted items.
* Dawn hosted the pilot show to her live arts program,
"Heart of the Arts". 5/26/2011, interviewing artist, Deb
Interviewed on WMDV's Southside Central (one hour show) by Bruce
Dawn's art featured on cover of Danville Register Bee's
"It's All About Her" special section, May, 2011.
Interviewed by Star News (television) and WAKG (radio) at Art on
Main, May, 2011.
Exhibited at Festival in the Park, Danville, VA. 2011
Exhibited works at Art on Main, Oct. 2010, and May 2011.
Hosted her first bellydance hafla, March, 2011.
* Demonstrated how to airbrush portraits on t-shirts at the
Danville Art League. Dec. 2010.
Dawn guest hosted The Pace podcast, with a round table discussion
about women and riding.
* Dawn's ACE Tourer wins a 1st Place
trophy at Eden Two Rivers Bike Rally.
* Her CB750 airbrush work wins a trophy at the the Tobacco Alley Bike Rally in
Guest on thepacepodcast.com numerous times 2009/2010
discussing motorcycling and her art.
The CB750 bike project
with Dawn's airbrush art wins Best Paint at Bogie Burgers Bike
Night, August, 2009
Dawn's airbrushed and customized Honda Shadow ACE Tourer wins Best Bike
Overall at Bogie Burgers Bike Night, Sept. 2009
Dawn's Honda Shadow 1100 Tourer appears in "Hot Bikes Baggers"
magazine, December 2008.
Exhibit of Nature and Buddhist works at the Danville Yoga and
Meditation Center, November, 2008.
Dawn's Honda ACE 1100 Tourer motorcycle project wins 2nd
place at the Crane Tire Bike and Car Show, Danville, VA, May,
Honda CB750 airbrushed by Dawn appears in 12/07 issue of "The
Horse" custom motorcycle magazine.
Dawn creates and maintains an online motorcycle forum for the
Danville, VA, group, River City Cruisers, 2007
Artist invited to display motorcycle airbrush art in Rick Doss'
Danville, VA, custom motorcycle shop. 11/2007
Artist and her work are featured in a Madison, WI, News 3/UPN 14
story (by Teri Barr, RE: Little Explorer's Preschool).
non-fiction book published: "Intimate Nature - Musings and
Memories Celebrating Life's Circular Journey" 4/2007
Exhibit: "Art on the Lawn", Danville Museum of Fine Arts and
History, May, 2007
Member of Danville Art League, 2007
Selected to be a featured artist in Airbrush Technique Magazine,
Contacted by White Star Publishing, National Geographic's
partner in Italy, for images of her custom motorcycle for a book
on customs. Jan. 2007
ocean bike is "Best of Show: Honda", at Biff Burger's Bike of
the Year Show, St. Petersburg, FL, March, 2006, over 100 bikes
2nd place, Best Bike, Sneaky's Weekly Bike Night (2 for 2),
Largo, FL 2006
"Mermie" ocean bike is "Top Runner Up", Biff Burger's 9th Annual
Toys for Tots Bike Show, December 2005
Nebraska Archeology Society commissions artwork depicting Clovis
culture mammoth hunt. 2005
Airbrushed high performance boats (including OSS's T. Werner's
40' Super Cat racing boat) at Performance Plus Marine, Largo,
FL, 2004. Also designed and airbrushed the "Colorful Round
Candies" boat, and other boat graphics there.
Consistently in Top Ten on ArtWanted.com, amongst 10,000+
Featured full page artist in "Creative Minds" book published by
ArtWanted.com, 2004. Dawn was selected as one of 20 artists to
jury art from several hundreds artists portfolios for the
* Juried into
Celebration of the Arts convention, Tampa, Florida, 2004.
Contest: "Our Florida Home" design chosen for the Tallahassee
Door Project, March 2004.
"Naptime" large format painting shown at Kelsey Keller & Assoc.
Fine Art Dist., Tampa, 2004
"Endless Journeys" photo book; "Turtles In The Mist" photo
included in anthology, 2004.
Exhibit: Indian Stuff, St. Petersburg, nature and Native art on
Exhibit: The Rack, St. Pete. Nude paintings on exhibit -
Exhibit at Art Arbor, Boyd Hill, St. Petersburg, 2003.
* "Artists at
Work" Native American Exhibit, Hillsborough Community College,
Tampa, one of only two non-Native Americans invited to show.
Featured guest on Madame Ani's radio show: "Ask The Blonde",
Featured in Watermark Magazine (Central FL arts/entertainment
publ.) 2002 (EDA store)
Interview in Tampa Tribune, 2002, 2003 (homelessness)
NEW St. Pete News, multiple features, 2002, 2003, (EDA store)
Northeast Neighborhood News, multiple features, 2002, 2003 (EDA
Featured on Tampa television news: Ch. 10, '02 (henna art), Ch.
13, '02 (homelessness)
of Homeless Task Force, St. Petersburg, FL, 2002
Featured on Bayside News, 2002, 2003 (EDA store)
* Exhibit: Circus McGurkis, The People's Fair, St. Petersburg,
Herb'n Yoga, St. Petersburg, 2002 (henna art presentation)
Viva La Frieda, Tampa, w/The Tribe, 2002, 2004 (henna art
Exhibit at Java Jane's in Gulfport w/The Tribe, 2003 (tribal
Featured on Downtownpete.com, 2002, 2003 (EDA store)
Local Bellydancing Winter Hafla 2002 (henna art presentation)
Listed in St. Pete Downtown Map and Guide, 2002 (EDA store)
Featured on Sterling Powell's "Art of Living" website, 2002 (EDA
Opened Eclectic Dawn Arts imports store in St. Petersburg, FL,
with Michelle G. 2001
Wisconsin Poet's Calendar, "Sparrows on my Porch" poem
Chamber of Commerce "New Business of the Year" 1991, "Service
Award" 1992, Waupaca County
Published in various WI newspapers, short articles, various
Owned/operated The Sentiment Shop (antiques and hand crafted
goods) in Manawa, WI. 1990 - 1996
Exhibited and sold antiques & hand crafted items at various
shows across Wisconsin, 1990 - 1996.
Dawn taught herself to
play guitar at 11 years of age, around the same time she started
and clarinet. She has performed solo and in
various bands (guitar, keyboards, vocalist), and toured
throughout the Midwest and East Coast, since the early '70's.
Bands: Couzins, Sweet Ash, David Christopher and Night Scream (1
record), White Witch (all 4 based in the Fox Valley, WI);
Uptown, Paradise, Sister Max (previous 3 based in Minneapolis,
MN; Roadhouse, Deb-on-Air,
(1 record) (3 bands based in Green Bay, WI); Sister Sweetly
(northern WI). Dawn is the only female rocker to win the WAPL
Battle of the Bands, and her band, Hijinx, headlined the first
Memorial Fest in Appleton, performing in front of 14,000.
She also has done many voice-overs for commercials in Green Bay,
(and recently, voice-overs for a Danville, VA, tv station), and performed a solo tribute show appearing as Marilyn Monroe,
Cher, Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. Her bands have backed up
such groups as Survivor, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, Danny
Johnson and the Bandits, B*tch, Kenny Loggins, and even the
Mommas and the Papas. Dawn has one solo CD out, and is currently
working on another. She plays guitar, ukulele, clarinet, piano, didge, Native flute,
doumbek, and klong yaw, and teaches
guitar, piano and ukulele. She is also learning to play harp, and has
violin and accordion on her list of "instruments I'd like to