Providing connection through art

Published 12:55 pm Friday, November 5, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

HELENA – The art of Danielle Portera Lang is all over the town of Helena. She has jumped from one local business to the next creating beautiful mural pieces that capture the beauty of the Helena community.

Currently, she’s working on a mural outside the Helena Nutrition building for Helena Hardware.  Lang describes the mural as a “meta” painting, in that it’s of Lang on a ladder painting the mural of three Cahaba lilies with paint cans in the bottom corner.

She said the door was opened for her to paint this mural after she completed the Cahaba lilies on the side of Over Soul Brewery in May. She also completed the Day of the Dead mural on the window of Old Town’s Skullgirl Soaps shop.

Having the need to create has always been a part of Lang. She said she noticed her creativity streak early on in her childhood.

“I would rather stay indoors and paint than other activities,” she said of her time growing up.  “In high school, I started doing a few commissions, and that’s when I realized I wanted to study art.”

Lang got her degree in art from Samford in 2019, but she said she hadn’t pursued her artistic career full-time until this year.

“It was a little scary at first, but the other jobs I was working weren’t fulfilling that creative need I had,” she said.  “I couldn’t really balance doing commissions part-time when the other jobs I had were pretty draining, so I just realized that’s what makes me happy at the end of the day.”

She was commissioned to do the mural outside Over Soul, and the rest is history. Lang said the mural has helped with local exposure, and also her pet portraits have become very popular, especially around the holidays.

“I think our generation values pets a lot more,” she said.

She stared doing pet portraits a couple of years ago, and she said of all her work they mean the most to her customers. A lot of them, she said, are memorials for pets who have recently passed.

“Giving them the finished picture and seeing the look on their face, it’s pretty special,” Lang said. “It’s what keeps me doing the pet portraits.”

She most recently finished the mural inside Helena’s Brown Sugar Desserts, which is a culmination of their various menu items in the shape of a giant heart.

Lang said she has several projects lined up to add to her portfolio, including more pet portraits and a special gift for a couple who did not have the best photographer at their wedding.

“They were married in the ‘70s, and they didn’t really get to have a great wedding photo,” she said. “So, what I’m doing is I’m trying to cross reference their high school yearbook photos and a picture of her dress now to kind of put it together.”

Lang said she is thrilled with the positive responses she’s received from everyone in the Helena community.

“With COVID, money is tight for a lot of people, especially small businesses, but it’s been an honor for us to invest in each other in that way,” she said. “It’s paid off way better than I expected.”