Today we’d like to introduce you to Dakota Noot.
Dakota, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up making art – often in my dad’s afterschool classes in Bismarck, North Dakota. Art was my entertainment, expression, and daycare all in one. Eventually, I completed my BFA in Visual Art from the University of North Dakota before moving to California.
I received my MFA in art from Claremont Graduate University in 2017 – and I moved to LA after that. I’ve never had a game plan for my path as an artist – that young boy in North Dakota wasn’t dreaming of showing or teaching. I’ve been fortunate to have met artists and teachers who believed in me; especially my undergrad painting professor Todd Hebert who told me to choose LA/California for grad school.
Now, I’m only 25 and I adjunct for community college in addition to showing my own work. I’m continuing to draw and make drawing-based installations.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Art school and its aftermath is not easy.
When I graduated with my MFA, I had always been a student and worked part-time at most. I wasn’t prepared for the competitiveness of the job market. For the summer and fall after grad school, I was unemployed. The only thing that eased the stress of applying for jobs was making art.
Ultimately, it was older alumni from my program (CGU) that not only gave me opportunities to exhibit but employment. They gave me a real education. My biggest struggle now is balancing part-time jobs and commuting.
I teach adjunct community college and weekend classes for children in addition to working as a gallery preparator and lab tech. Full-time employment seems impossible, but I won’t stop trying.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a drawer. For a while, I didn’t want to embrace my drawings as an artist.
During undergrad and grad school, I mostly painted and felt the pressure to go larger. I really need to thank Cerritos College Art Gallery and James MacDevitt for changing the direction of my art. I created the idea for a proposal at the gallery’s window space that involved me installing drawings of animal-men on the walls and cutouts on the floor. I realized that “Meat Market” installation in February 2018 and later did variations of it at Otis College, MuzeuMM, and ESXLA.
Currently, I’m creating panels out of colored crayon and pencil drawings on foamcore layers. I want to take the rural imagery of my background and transform it into the fantastical. The animal-men of my work are intentionally whimsical, violent, and illustrative.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I need to thank Todd Hebert, my undergrad painting professor, for telling me to chose CGU and move to LA. None of this would have been possible if I had gone to a different school/state.
Lisa Adams and Amitis Motevalli were one-year professors at CGU and truly mentored me. They were both former alumni from the program and gave me real advice on navigating LA and have supported me long after they taught me. They continue to make art, teach, and inspire others.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @dakotanoot