Emily Katherine Dacus | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Emily Katherine Dacus

Photo courtesy Emily Katherine Dacus

Photo courtesy Emily Katherine Dacus

Until Clinton native Emily Katherine Dacus entered college as an art major, she'd hardly taken any formal art classes.

"I took one art class in seventh grade," Dacus recalls, "but I didn't take any art classes in high school because I was scared they'd take away my ambition to do art. I took other electives. I figured that I already knew how to draw, so I might as well figure out how to do something else."

Her lack of in-class experience didn't deter her from the path she set for herself, however, as Dacus now manages Emkatart, an online shop where she sells custom creations such as handmade jewelry and paintings.

"I've gotten several commissions in the past year or so—more than I ever have. It's probably because of advertising and spreading the word about what I do and what I like to do," Dacus says.

She credits her business savvy to her time as an administrative assistant with Burris/Wagnon Architects, a position she began earlier this year.

"I love the people I work with, and I've learned a lot about architecture and business, which I've applied to my own life," Dacus says of her job.

Her first venture into full-time work, Dacus describes the job as "exciting," noting that the interrelationship between visual and structural art intrigues her. "It makes you see the big picture a little differently," she says.

Upon accepting the job, the 23-year-old felt that a cross-town move was in order.

"I've lived in Clinton since I was 2. I grew up in the Clinton public schools, and then I went to Mississippi College. Clinton is a great town with great people, but (moving) gave me an opportunity to step out on my own and figure out what I want to do independently," she asserts.

Surveying what would be her new home at Walthall Lofts—renovated from the historic Walthall Hotel—Dacus determined the space would allow her creativity to flourish and signed a lease.

"My apartment is extremely bright, so it's extremely good for painting. I can make my own messes in my own place," she says with a laugh. "The first time I saw it, I thought it would be a really great art studio."

Eventually, Dacus says that she hopes to be able to strike a balance between her day job and her art business. "I'd like them to be equally divided," Dacus says. "I'd like to be able to pay equal attention to both of them."

Follow Emkatart on Facebook or Etsy.

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