Dana Peska is a full-time artist living in Tampa, Florida, with her two kids. After her painting for an art gallery was damaged in the mail, Dana realized she was in need of a lawyer and agent. Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, she found Lonzo Law. Dana tells her story of becoming an artist and shares her experience with Lonzo Law representing her and her artwork.
Q: How did you discover your passion for art?
A: I knew I had a passion for art when I was very small, but I didn’t fully realize it at the time. My mom had three kids and three jobs. She was raising us on her own, so she was very flexible with me and my creativity. I grew up in a house where I got to paint and draw all over the walls. I found the most comfort when I was at home doodling. I’ve been making gowns and clothes since I was a kid, and I have been carving and sculpting since I was very young, too.
Q: How did you become a full-time artist?
A: I found out that I was pregnant with my son when I was fairly young. To provide for us, I went to school for nursing and I got my CNA. I began working with Alzheimer’s patients in their homes. It was a very rewarding period of my life, but I was unhappy without art.
One day about three years ago, I was doodling for the first time in a long time. I thought, “I’d like to learn how to paint.” So, I went to Michael’s and I bought one of those little acrylic sets. I was working for a family here in Tampa at the time– a husband and his wife. I painted a picture of their dog and gave it to them as a gift. The wife had such a positive reaction.
My job involved traveling with the family, so I would often go to Montana with them. While we were out there, the wife contacted a local gallery and showed them a picture of my latest painting, one of a Native American. The gallery put my piece in their yearly auction, and it sold for well above what anyone thought it would. The gallery decided to sign me as an artist. As I began dropping paintings off at the gallery, they would sell right away.
Q: How did you connect with Lonzo Law?
A: I had done a very large piece in Montana and I created a brother piece for it when I came back to Tampa. I packed up the brother piece, shipped it out to Montana, and on the way there, the crate broke in transit. The painting made it there, but it was damaged and torn. I filed an insurance claim, but UPS kept denying it. I had never been in this position before. It was very frustrating.
I realized I needed a lawyer, so I asked around, and a friend of mine referred me to Kevin Lonzo. She said he was very honest and trustworthy. So, I got in touch with Kevin and he set up a meeting for us here in Tampa at his co-workspace, the Hyde House. I explained to him my seven-month battle with UPS refusing to honor my insurance policy and accept responsibility. Kevin really understood my struggle. He was kind, compassionate, and agreed to help me. He said, “Listen, I want to help you because this isn’t right.” It was such a relief.
Q: What has it been like working with Lonzo Law?
A: Trying to find a good lawyer can be really scary. You’re entrusting someone to keep your best interest in mind and to not throw you under the bus. Kevin is extremely trustworthy. He’s shown me time and again that he has follow through. What he says, he’ll do, and he goes out of his way to do it. Kevin cares about his clients and bettering us all in our careers. He can see the bigger picture, knows the steps to get there, and will help you along the way. However, Kevin doesn’t take over the reins. He makes sure that you’re comfortable with decisions before taking action. You really feel like you’re a part of the experience.
Today, Kevin represents me as an artist. Along the way, he’s given me a lot of confidence. He’s taught me how to better myself as an artist, so that I’m not undervaluing my own work. When it comes to discussions about money, or how I deserve to be compensated for my work, Kevin breaks things down in a way I didn’t think of them before. He’s helped me to think about my career in a new perspective.
Q: What exciting things do you have coming up?
A: With Kevin’s support, I’ve planned an inaugural art gala for Friday, November 19, at the Hyde House called The Legacy Art Gala. Its purpose is to provide local Tampa Bay artists with the exposure that they need to grow their careers. The theme of the show is light, shadow, and structure with a human focus. It will be a black-tie gala showcasing a variety of art pieces, including live song and dance performances.
I’ve coordinated an art contest for the gala open to graduating juniors and seniors at Howard W. Blake School of the Arts Magnet High School. The winner will have their piece displayed at the gala and put-on silent auction. Proceeds will be divided between the student and their teacher. The night will also feature an immersive experience, guided conversations with our artists, and an afterparty complete with a live band.
While I have done the majority of the planning on my own, Kevin has been very supportive of my vision. He plays a primary role in the gala; establishing an agreement with the Hyde House, taking care of artist and performer contracts, and handholding me through this process to make sure it goes off the best that it possibility can. On top of it all, Kevin is a sponsor of the night. It’s going to be a wonderful night. We’ve already begun to plan for next year, so that the gala can be even bigger and better in the future.
The Legacy Art Gala is open to Premier, VIP, and General guests. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit The Legacy Art Gala website or search @thelegacyartgala on Instagram.
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