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Meet Monique Dao

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monique Dao.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve always been somewhat of an oddball. I grew up in a non-artistic family. My parents are teachers, and my aunts and uncles established their careers in medical, government, and corporate. As much as I wanted to be a doctor to please my parents, my heart just wasn’t in it. I was, instead, captivated by art. Going to art museums, browsing art galleries and art walks, and learning about various artists have inspired me to explore my creative side.

Having a background and degree in literature, largely influenced by the great minds of nature-loving American poets and authors Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost, and John Muir, my love for nature cultivated over the course of my college years. I was never much of a social person, and the only place that truly made me happy and feel at ease was in nature. I’d spend much of my free time hiking everywhere, and eventually, I came to the point where I wanted to capture each moment I’m out there. And so, with my love of art and nature coming together, my desire for photography was born.

Please tell us about your art.
My love for photography was born out of my love for nature and all living creatures in it. I started photographing nature – landscapes, wild animals, birds, bugs, flowers – sharing their beauty with the world. I wanted to use my art to inspire people to nourish a love, appreciation and respect for nature and all living creatures living in it. I slowly transitioned into wedding photography as there is just as much beauty in it.

Being able to capture such intimate and important moments of a couple’s life gives me an incredible sense of honor and pride, knowing that my artistic images will be treasured for a lifetime.

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I feel that the expression “starving artist” still holds true today. It is extremely difficult to make a living with art alone unless you have great connections. Because fine art is not a need, buying it is not a high priority for most people.

Cities can support artists by creating opportunities for them to sell their work, such as artist programs, festivals, contests, relationships between artists and local vendors like restaurants and city halls, networking events specifically for connecting artists to potential buyers, etc.

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