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JoAnn Dutton Artist

"My artistic journey began as a child, with a purity of seeing everything in my small world as transformational objets d'art. Growing up in the Midwest, family vacations often included adventures into nature where I would fashion sticks, rocks and other organic novelties into unique sculptures...which in my own young mind I determined to be magical. I wouldn't know at the time how much this fascination would play out later in life.

Foreign travels beginning in youth, expanded upon my intrigue with found objects as transcendental treasures. With a deep affinity for other cultures, I identified intrinsically with their use of indigenous raw materials in creating masterful as well as simplistic works of art.

As a design student in London, I learned to put more focus on the connection between form and function.  The melting pot of ethnic diversity in the city also invigorated my creative muse. I was captivated by how beautifully and artistically interwoven were the sights, sounds, scents and flavors of other cultures.

I went to work for the Larson Company based out of Tucson, Arizona which specialized as designers and builders of fantasy. In the development of artificial environments and exhibits, it was one of the preeminent firms in the world. Their remarkable projects spanned the globe...throughout

the continental United States where they began, as well as the Pacific from Hawaii to Tokyo and Osaka and Hong Kong, on to Europe; Holland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Portugal...and back across the Atlantic to Montreal, Canada's prairie provinces, and the Islands of the Caribbean. As an artist/sculptor, I worked within many different facets of the company.  I was fortunate to have learned a great deal from their use of technology and materials and was able to later pioneer advancements of some of those within my own business.


Recognizing there was room for a smaller enterprise in the same arena, a partner and I formed a company which was oriented more specifically as designers/builders for the zoological realm. As well, I incorporated an additional company, Enrichment Design, which specialized in custom fabrication of enrichment apparatus for life in captivity. I was deeply committed to being involved in every part of the design as well as the construction. The laborious demands in the field, necessity for attention to detail, and species specific challenges served me well in honing my craft.


After completion of the Village WaTuTu at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California, it was time to throw an anchor and land so I could set up more permanent roots for my three children.  Up to that point, they had been in tow and traveled from project location to project location. They had become acquainted with more than a few zoos, animals, keepers and curators all around the country. Having had enough of running crews and operating on a larger company scale, I chose to focus on Enrichment Design, with an emphasis on simulated vine fabrication for primates, birds and reptiles. The vines could be sculpted in Palm Desert and then shipped to their final destination. As a single Mom, this was intended to keep me close to home, although there would be a few more away projects over the next several years.


Water features for residential and commercial clients were the transition from habitat design/build into fine art. This manifested as I realized my techniques and uses of varied materials allowed the freedom to create a sculpture of any design and integrate the peaceful element of moving water. The poetry in motion took me full circle back to childhood when I would disappear into the fantasy of my mystical sculptures at the river's edge.


Once my children were grown and off on their respective life adventures, I was finally able to reflect upon how I aspired to invent life moving forward and what that would look like with regard to my creative endeavors.  Several years of introspection and wandering aimlessly but with purpose, I began to recognize the path "Home" my Higher Self...wherein the magic of my many blessed gifts had been resonating all along. 

"I have a profound desire to inspire Awaken to their own Creativity...because we all have that aspect of ourselves within our core. Whatever it may be, I believe therein lies a deep connection to our Soul...a space filled with passion and love. I want to beat the drum and get people dancing to their Inner Artist. It can reveal itself in many different and wonderful ways...change lives, forge relationships, bridge continents, meld diversity, build new worlds and generate well-being." 

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