|In almost every aspect of our lives, the past weeks have been amongst the most taxing in modern history. COVID-19 has infiltrated nearly all aspects of our daily routines, from our work and family schedules to friend dates and hobbies. Partial to full lockdowns have caused the closure of restaurants, retail stores, and public entertainment venues that host galleries, concerts, sporting events, plays, conventions, films, and more.
Arts organizations continue to struggle with the disastrous cost and ramification of closing their buildings, and freelance artists of all trades are adapting to their careers and incomes being on hold. Despite these challenges, Chilean artists have devised innovative and resourceful expressions of creativity and resilience as performers of all disciplines transition to e-commerce, host online classes and performances, and offer virtual tours of art exhibitions.
In this series, we will meet Chilean artists who are adapting their lives and careers amid a global pandemic. Learn about what has inspired their artistic journey, the challenges they’re learning to overcome, and how they find support in their communities.
Meet Daniela Vilensky
Dani con Lápiz
1. Can you tell me about your work, and how you began your professional journey?
My professional journey began in a very unpredictable way. As a journalist who had always worked as an editor in startups related to art and design, I started learning hand lettering in my spare time. I’ve always loved to write, and this new hobby integrated my love for letters and communication with my passion for aesthetics.
Around two years ago, the design startup I was working with offered me an ownership position. It was a bid deal for me. I loved that job, and it was a dream come true that they provided me with an essential and permanent position. Instead of jumping right in, I hesitated under unbearable anxiety.
Although everything and everyone told me to accept, and that it was the obvious thing to do, something inside me kept telling me that it was not the right call. I can’t explain what the feeling was exactly, but for the first time in my life, I decided to follow a hunch. Not only did I refuse the offer, but I also decided to quit my job with no plan at all. It was quite a shock to everyone, but there was something inexplicable that made me feel calm and confident about my decision.
I began selling watercolor lettering artwork to friends, offering letting services to restaurants for their menus, and any project involving art and letters. I created an Instagram account that I named Dani con Lápiz (Dani with a pen), and soon after, an arts and crafts library requested that I teach a watercolor lettering class. My career path unfolded into a beautiful story of believing in myself that required a tremendous amount of effort.
2. How has the quarantine affected your business? Have you needed to postpone or cancel appointments?
The quarantine has affected my business in many ways. In September 2019, I launched my website offering virtual lettering classes, a personal and professional blog, and a new product line. I sold my work through the site, and, in March, began selling my work at Makers, on the design floor at Parque Arauco Mall. Parque Arauco closed, preventing me from completing even one month at the store. I stopped delivering for sanitary and health issues, and I left the office I was renting for the last two years because I couldn’t afford rent and was unsure when the economy would become stable again.
Luckily, I can still offer online courses, but the national and global lockdowns prevent sales. I remain optimistic and have been finding alternative delivery methods to persevere. We entrepreneurs are tenacious!
3. How can the community support you from home? Are you working on products available for purchase online? Do you have gift cards available that can be used at a later date?
Apart from my online classes and gift cards found on www.daniconlapiz.com/cursos, I’ve been sharing free virtual lettering tutorials through IGTV because I believe these are the times when society needs a connection to the creative aspects of humanity. Lettering is therapeutic for me and is something that has given me the chance to connect with so many beautiful women, sharing my personal story to inspire more self-love. I have a fantastic online community, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the many stories and lessons I have learned from the people there.
The best way to offer support is by purchasing and participating in an online class. I know that we’re all going through difficult financial times, so another great way of showing support is by sharing what I do so that I can reach more people.
4. What is the best way to connect with you online?
The best ways to reach me are through my Instagram @daniconlapiz or my website www.daniconlapiz.com.
Read here part I of the Creators in Quarantine-series
Read here part II of the Creators in Quarantine-series