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Jack of all trades,

Master of many...

I like to prove old adages wrong. I believe artists can be masters of many areas within the art field. My career in art began a very long time ago, actually. It began before I was even born. The creativity I use in all of my pieces stems form a long line of artistic DNA. Can you tell I love science? I owe my artistic genes to my ancestors on my father's side of the family, the Siljanders from Sweden. I grew up surrounded by the artwork of my grandfather's father, my father's mother, and my father himself. My great granfather was a wood worker and a decorative artist who worked in the Dalmalning style. My grandmother was more of a fine artist, while my, father ventured into commercial art and advertising. Of course, I chose to dabble in them all.

photo of Dana Siljander

In high school, photography was my hobby. I say hobby because I had no intentions of ever pursuing a career in anything close to the art/advertising/design field. I had full intentions of drifting off to far off lands to study other cultures, both ancient and current, as an anthropologist. Life has a habit though of taking you in totally different directions. When I was little, knocking around my grandparents house, I would spend hours admiring my great grandfather's decorative painting. At the first opportunity, I began taking folk art classes. I found a new passion and it is a love that is still ongoing. Most of the furniture, paintings and decorations in my home are of my creation. Years later, one marriage and one divorce, I found myself needing to launch another career with benefits, so off to college I went. Against my father's better judgement, I chose a career in advertising art and design. Four years later and a heck of a lot of work, I graduated valedictorian of my graduating class. I jumped right into the field and not a day goes by that I ever regret my decision. Yes, it is a tough field, but I love the work. Every day brings new challenges and new opportunities to learn. My next venture was into the world of jewelry making. My friend told me about the coolest thing called precious metal clay. I was ecstatic. Any kind of adornment attracts my eye and I have long admired jewelry through the ages. When studying art history, it was the lavish jewelry I was checking out in all of the paintings. When going to museums, I was fixated by the adornments from ancient, Rome, Greece and the Middle Ages. With my graphic design skills, it was such a natural fit that I began sketching designs, illustrating them on the computer, creating photopolymer plates, and producing unique, one of a kind jewelry. With my A type personality, I never do anything mediocre. Of course I had to work with the finest materials. All jewelry that I create is produced with either pure silver or 22 kt gold and either precious or semi precious stones. Recently I have even been commisioned to paint store windows and paint nursery murals. Just a few more things to add to my repetoire.

With the world economy being what it is today and the prevelance of outsourcing in our field, it behooves people to be as multifaceted as possible. It has been my greates pleasure and most fortunate opportunity to be able to bring all that I have learned and what I do to the classroom. One of my greatest joys is working with the students that I teach at my old alma mater Farmingdale State College. Through them, I also continue to learn and grow. God willing, I still have a lot of life in me and I am only half way there. There is still so much more to learn and create and I can't wait.