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Dawn Schmidt, Ventimiglia, CreativeAbout the Artist and This Blog
This website includes Eclectic Dawn Arts work and project news AND The Aquatomic Lounge adventures (vintage camper rebuild).

Dawn is an award-winning, full-time artist, musician, teacher, TV host, writer, henna artist, traveler, nature lover, tikiphile, camper, thrifter, and was described in a TV interview as “the quintessential free spirit”. With 40 years (as of 2016) of experience completing commissioned works and performing in public, Dawn’s professionalism and enthusiasm shine through in every project she undertakes. Dawn with fez.

She creates in “The Kukui Lagoon,” her studio by day/vintage tiki lounge by night. She schedules custom murals and canvas works in between painting purses, hand-dyeing silk kaleidescope scarves, painting her unique monkeypod bowls (in her etsy shop), and whatever else she decides to attempt, including zombie diorama ornaments.

loungesm2013: Dawn and her husband, JohnnyV, started gutting a 1966 Yellowstone camper to bring it back to life with an atomic era look. After JohnnyV had multiple complicated hospital stays in 2014, they took a work hiatus due to physical limitations. With the help of friends, they finished the camper in 2015, and it was featured in Vintage Camper Trailers Dec. 2015 issue. You can view the entire rebuild process in the NEWSBLOG.

Dawn’s Background
music5Born in Milwaukee, WI, Dawn grew up in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin. She toured the Midwest and East Coast as a musician for decades, ran her own antiques store in central WI,  and wrote articles and gave presentations about antiques, music, and decorating. When living in Green Bay (on Packerland Drive, of course), she painted signs and billboards at Orde Advertising, and later did marketing and web work for them, while still performing in bands and tattooing.

Race boat2000 and Beyond
Dawn and her best friend opened an import store/gallery in St. Pete, FL, where she also applied henna in the store (and at area events), and taught about henna’s 5000-year-old history and symbolism. Dawn’s life changed dramatically when she was robbed at knife-point in the store on April 4th, 2003. She found coping skills through friends, music, and art, and channeled PTSD’s hyper-awareness into her work. In the early 2000’s, Dawn picked up an airbrush, likened airbrushing to the same finesse of tattooing, and she was a natural. Her first airbrushing job was prepping and airbrushing 40′ race boats in Largo, Florida. Soon, she was airbrushing art on motorcycles. Dawn has won multiple awards for her airbrush work, including a “Best of Show, Honda” at the Biff Burger’s “Bike of the Year Show” in St. Pete, FL, out of 100+ entries. Two of her airbrushed custom bikes have appeared in major motorcycle magazines.

JohnnyV and Dawn at Mai Kai

The V’s, Mai Kai, Ft. Lauderdale.


Lovable Lola.

Dawn and JohnnyV married in Key West in ’06, and moved to Virginia in ’07, along with Bella, their MinPin. After losing Bella to cancer, the V’s adopted Lola from a rescue group.

Dawn hosted her live weekly TV show, “Heart of the Arts”, featuring local creatives, in 2011. Some episodes of the show are on her YouTube channel. Dawn was an honorary member of the Danville Art League for her educational presentations; a member artist of Dan River Art Works and The Milton Studio Art Gallery in Milton, NC, and her  art has been sold  in various venues, including the world-famous Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She currently sells her works through etsy.


Doumbek drummer

Dawn and Lee Sandstead

Interviewing Lee Sandstead

She started teaching bellydance in 2011, which led to her hand-dyed silk dancing veils and a bellydance flash card deck.  She began teaching Middle Eastern Rhythm Exploration (doumbek drumming) in 2013. She also teaches piano, guitar, and uke.

She stays busy creating art, teaching, slinging henna, sewing, and writing, but still finds time for adventures with JohnnyV such as camping, flea markets, thrifting, or Fairy Stone hunting. Dawn is an ocean lover who enjoys exploring beaches and snorkeling.

She is truly an ECLECTIC spirit!


Using a plasma cutter to fabricate the seat pan for a motorcycle project.


Ukulele and hooping, at the same time! We call it “Ukenhoopin'”!

festival in the park

Vending at Festival in the Park, Danville, VA

In Memoriam: Bella, the Original Ecelctic Dawn Arts Quality Control Inspector. She fought like a girl. :)

Bella, the Original Eclectic Dawn Arts Quality Control Inspector. RIP

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