Time to get festive! This holiday season Inland 360 is doing a series of stories about area artisans who handcraft and sell work. This week we spoke with Pullman mixed-media artist Cori Dantini.
By JILL WILSON
for Inland 360
Over the past few decades, Cori Dantini has produced mixed media art with much commercial success. Her images have adorned products such as greeting cards, fabric, shower curtains, ornaments and more. While her aesthetic, ability to adapt and prolific nature have paid off in the industry, the only thing Dantini was ever ambitious about was making art.
After receiving two art degrees from Washington State University in 1993, Dantini had no clue what she was going to do with her education.
“I just thought I was going to be a waitress and make my paintings and try to sell them, but my money would always come from waiting tables,” said Dantini, of Pullman.
Her career in the hospitality industry came to a halt however when she moved to Denver in the mid-1990’s for her husband to finish graduate school.
“I couldn’t get a waitressing job to save my life,” she said. “Then in the newspaper there was an ad for a clip art designer. My husband had circled the phone number.”
Dantini applied for the job and was hired. As time went on, her workload grew exponentially.
“I started out doing about 10 images a week and by the end of two years I was doing 200 images every week and greeting cards.”
Dantini’s career took off as she produced images for companies nationwide. Then in 2008, when the stock market crashed, Dantini stopped receiving work altogether.
“I had a nice career that died on the vine overnight,” she said.
That is when Dantini tried her hand at craft shows. Following an inspiration after seeing an image of a silhouette imposed over text, Dantini began to layer her images in a new way. It was during this time of uncertainty that Dantini felt she finally found her own personal artistic expression.
“When you’re an illustrator, you start out kind of doing derivatives of other people’s vision,” she said. “I like to think of each piece as a visual poem. When I started doing the craft shows and my work was selling, I thought I finally found my voice.”
It was at one of these craft shows in 2010 that Dantini met Shelia Meehan, an art agent who was a fan of Dantini’s work. Meehan took Dantini’s art to a surface and textile show where licensing companies shop for artwork, and Dantini received many offers for commercial work.
Today, Dantini’s artwork can be found in many stores worldwide on anything from a serving tray to a Kleenex box. At upcoming holiday craft fairs, she will be selling ornaments, prints and banners. Prices are $10 for ornaments, $20 for prints, $40 for banners and $20 to $200 for original works of varying sizes.
“One of my worst fears is seeing my work at Goodwill,” she said, “but I feel very grateful for every door that I have walked through.”
Dantini’s work can be found at:
- Winter Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St., Moscow.
- Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Wehelan-Ewartsville Grange, 4902 SR 27 Pullman.
- On etsy.com at corid.
- On coridantini.com.