At just nine years old, North Shore-based fine artist Dana Rogers won a drawing contest sponsored by the Art Institute of Chicago, a competition geared toward discovering up-and-coming talent in the Windy City. The prize? Six months of art classes at the Art Institute. The rest, as they say, is history.
“I was the only person in the class whose dad held their hand walking in each week,” laughs Rogers. “I was the youngest person in the class by at least 15 years and remember being so intimidated, but I loved every minute. Art brought me happiness and gave me purpose.”
Rogers later went on to attend the esteemed ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, which boasts a photography department founded by famed American photographer Fred Archer and past instructors like the visionary Ansel Adams.
No surprise, then, Rogers pursued a degree in fine art photography and began her career as a commercial photographer. She worked on national advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 brands like Coca-Cola, Walgreens, and McDonald’s and also on celebrity shoots with recognizable names like Billy Bob Thornton, Nicole Scherzinger, and Mark McGrath.
It wasn’t until Rogers and her husband Spencer, also an artist and photographer, had their son, Cash, in 2007 that the duo decided to strike out on their own. They combined their mix of commercial and artistic photography experience to open Edenhurst Studio, which helped families searching for unique ways to capture special memories.
In 2014, the couple created Photographic Abstractions, which combined small sections of Spencer’s paintings—with a focus on texture and color combinations—then used a digital rendering camera to capture fine details in the sharpest clarity possible. The resulting file could then be reproduced and printed on materials like acrylic, metal, glass, and fine art papers.
And now, Rogers focuses primarily on manifestation art, or what she describes as healing crystal and gemstone fine art.
The purpose of manifestation art is to transform a space into one of healing, protection, or change by setting intentions with the healing crystals and gemstones Rogers uses in her artworks. The crystals and gemstones, she says, help connect your conscious thoughts with your body and your space.
“One day in 2020, my husband casually mentioned to me how he wished he could have more lucid dreams,” says Rogers. “For his birthday, I set an intention to make a piece that would set him on this path. I used amethyst, labradorite, and clear quartz to create my first piece. After a few nights, he said, ‘I think you are on to something.’ He really gave me the push I needed to explore the possibilities of what I could do.”
“My soul has always been drawn to spirituality, healing, and mystical pathways,” says Rogers. “Since I was young, I’ve been fascinated with how our universe works and how nature can have so many restorative properties. It’s truly awe-inspiring.”
Rogers selects specific high-quality gemstones and crystals for each piece to achieve a unique intention for transformation. Rose quartz, for example, helps open the heart; amethyst develops intuition; citrine is the stone of success; black kyanite offers protection from negative energy; and tiger’s eye enhances one’s personal power. Everyone, Rogers says, should have shungite in their homes. It’s capable of protecting, grounding, guarding, and healing you simultaneously.
“There are a lot of stones that can do the same thing but what I do is find the stones that work well together to bring that certain intention into your space and your life,” explains Rogers. “I love the way they look and how they make me feel but mostly I love their healing powers. Behaving intentionally is the key to living the life you dream of. Intention is one of the most powerful forces in nature.”
Rogers once sold a commissioned piece for a woman whose husband set an intention—by placing his hands on the piece—to manifest his goals quickly. Later, the wife saw Rogers’ husband, Spencer, on the golf course and told him her husband had secured the deal he was working on and credited part of that success to Rogers’ piece of art.
“That warmed my heart,” says Rogers. “That’s the magic of the pieces. Gemstones and crystals are the bridge that connects intentional thought to daily life. I am a firm believer in a mind-body-nature balance in our lives, and in my opinion, this balance is often overlooked. I hope my art can help more people pay attention to this.”
Rogers is currently prepping for a show at Laughlin Gallery in Highland Park that will debut this month and will showcase both her work and that of the late Spencer, who sadly passed away recently. His legacy, however, lives on in Rogers’ work and in the spirit of his family.
“I have to clear my own energy after our family tragedy and create a piece for myself that will help my heart to heal and help me to stay in the moment—not in the past or the future but the now,” says Rogers. “In the same way I bring change to people in whatever form they need, I am doing that for myself now.”