30 Days of Women: Emily Dahlquist

Emily Dahlquist


Emily Dahlquist is one of those women who stops you dead in your tracks.
Exudes excellence and badassness from the moment she opens her mouth.
Takes no shit and always gets the job done.
Shes the woman you want on your side, no matter what it is that you have going on.
Hard working, graceful and a truly great soul.
Rides the perfect line of being hard and soft, assertive yet not condescending.
I love talking to her because no matter if shes praising you or telling you what to do better. It always comes from a place of respect.
Not lots of people can ride that line and not lots of people can command respect the way she does.
I'm happy to know her, I'm even happier to call her a friend.
No matter where I am in the country, whenever I run into her, my day has been made.

Take a look into the mind of a boss, you might learn something.

How old are you & where are you from?
I am 24 years young and I derive from Ham Lake, Minnesota. What brought you to Chicago? College.  
Who's been your saving grace while in the city? 
Honestly, no one in particular. All of the really genuine people I have met, friends. I came here not knowing one soul, and now I have a few friends that I will be close to forever. It's like I was supposed to connect with/meet them.

What's your least favorite thing about being a woman in the city? 
I guess would be my favorite part of being a woman in any city. Since Chicago allows access to many great scenes, Femme, Queer, etc... You really can thrive here and pride your identity, if you chose to do so.

How do you feel getting the job at Mosaic?
The next challenge. Thankful.  

Are you scared about having to report to a company after having such freedom over the last two years? No. What's your position there?
Working as a team with an ACD, just the two of us for now. The department overall is called Strategy & Ideation, my title at this time is a Conceptor. 

How did you get involved with canvas?
My friend Franco introduced me over two years ago. I met Preston and Vincent for something like an "interview" in the courtyard, before I even went inside of the building (haha). From that day I just never really stopped pushing the organization forward with the team.

Do you feel as a woman in the organization that your voice was ever stifled ?
I consider myself as "The First Lady" there (haha), as a joke, but also kind of seriously. The first woman to really take a step in, grasp the psychology of what was going on and then help carry all weight as a family typically does. As far as my voice, yeah.. sometimes, but I think everyone has felt there there, its a process of growing. I really have a thing about not getting credit for my ideas, even if they are collective. Sometimes thats all you have is that credit.

Who's been your biggest supporter In The collective?
Shit thats hard... after real consideration I would say Preston Jones, because he has let me develop what I want, where I want and will take the time to listen when I need it. He trusts me on decisions and other things. Trust is essential, and I genuinely appreciate it.  Who is your favorite person to work with? I love collaborating with new people. When it comes down to getting shit done and getting excited about ideas, Julius Torres is definitely my go to. We can work flawlessly together, listen to each other, and make exciting shit happen.

Who's your favorite female artist in the city?
Fee Lion. She's a boss. Takes care of her shit, is a beautiful, talented artist, and does a lot of the elements of her brand by herself. 

Who came up with the idea for Sub Chroma?
Collaborative effort. It was initially the solo exhibition for Lefty Out There. The following year it grew to be way more than that. The first year was at Canvas, I helped a lot with it, maybe because I was the only one with professional gallery/museum/exhibition experience. I remember looking at Franco that night and saying... we need to make this travel. A traveling exhibition.

How did you get into creative/artistic direction?
Not really sure. I just have naturally done it, its probably the most natural thing in my life that comes to me. I love helping people, and once you have that experience over and over, you just gain that much more momentum. 

Everyone around you is doing such incredible things and getting national attention, do you ever get frustrated fighting so hard for everyone else's art and not being able to focus on your own? 
Not at all, because that is my art. My art is taking an idea, creating it, producing it, and watching how people react and experience what was once an idea. Also, 'I'd rather be rich than famous.' -Migos

Tell me about streets & beats. 
An environmental awareness project that connects with the community through creative outlets. Taylor Gendel had come to me with an idea she was inspired by Boiler Room TV, whom I also pull inspiration from. We started meeting every week and this beautiful idea was born into reality. We did the whole shabang.. website, cards, shirts, launch party (which was awesome), etc. We are still working to figure out what it really can amount to. But we have successfully cleaned up streets in the city, partnered with promoters, and even done a mini rally with picket signs stating facts about the environment, while carrying a boombox.. in the rain. 

What have been your favorite projects that you've put together?
I love working with Various collectives in this city, its my favorite thing. New collaborations. Shoutout to Them Flavors, Karolina of YGP, Zack Eastman, Elijah, Fake Shore Drive, Fat Tiger Works, I could go on... 

How do you balance having a personal life with the constant demands of the business? 
There is times where I don't, but I don't feel depressed over it, because I never see any of it as work. Work to me is dressing up with restaurant shoes and a black tie to go pass small bites around at a gala. I did that, and remember being like... man fuck this, I need to be running these galas. Lately I have been actually getting great sleep and spending time at home during the nights. It is beneficial.

Do you see yourself growing with canvas or are you working in an exit?What's next if you are? Growing with Canvas, growing canvas.  Why are you better than others at your job?
Everyone is as good as they want to be. I do have a natural foundation of deep knowledge in sociology and psychology that I definitely take advantage of, very subtly and quietly. I pick apart a group of people, organization, whatever. All in my head to figure out how to really make things go.

What continues to push you?
Completing new challenges. Telling my Dad about what the last thing I accomplished.

What's been the biggest obstacle?
Not having enough time for my creative outlets, like painting, drawing, and sewing.

What has been your biggest learning experience. Good or bad?
A lot of things but for some reason these two came to me. 1. In my last semester of college, I was going through some shit, hustling to class. I accidentally kicked something on the ground, but hardly noticed and kept going cause I was late. Some ladies turned around and scolded me. I didn't know that I had kicked a man's metal bowl who was meditating towards it. I went back and said sorry, I had felt so bad. After a bit he said something about, listen. What you are trying to do, is right in front of you.. Basically I took that as what you have is right here in front of you, don't need to be thinking too far head. Present moment. 2. Marco Miller telling me once you create something, let it out of your imagination at all, it is no longer yours.

How would you inspire other women to get up and go after their goal like you did?
Define your goals for the day, for the year. Don't let anyone tell you shit. Listen. We're equal.

What's a daily struggle that you battle with?
Honestly, motivation, fatigue, some depression, and thinking about lack of time.

How has dating come into play while working in this industry?
All I really have to say to that is I haven't f**ked anyone to get where I am. 

Do you find it hard to trust people without assuming they want something from you?
No, because I will usually have that intuition if they do. I give everyone a chance. I also think it's apparent that I don't have time for bs, so they can bring that elsewhere.    
xoxoxo love you Flow!