She entered SUNY Fredonia as a speech pathology major and left with a degree in graphic design. Kim Dei Dolori, who lives in Beacon, says her left turn came the moment she volunteered to do another student’s class assignment.
“It was a girl down the hall,” she recalls. “She was a graphic design major and she was complaining about her homework. ‘I have to do this color theory project and paint and draw.’ I said, ‘I’ll do it for you!’ When I finished, I was like, ‘What am I doing? This is what I love.’ ”
Dei Dolori grew up in Buffalo. Her mother was a nursery-school teacher. “Our basement was piled with every art supply you could ever imagine. I was her guinea pig for craft projects that she was going to do,” she says.
After earning her bachelor of fine arts, Dolori spent 10 years in New York City. She has found her footing with a product-design studio, Hypothetical Brands. Everything is colorful, fun and, most of the time, lighthearted, she says.
“I’m an art director, but I also work on marketing,” Dei Dolori says. “I do photography, work on the website, email design. I have my hands all over the place, which is what I love. I don’t like to be placed in a box.”
Dei Dolori discovered Beacon when she and her boyfriend (now husband) stayed in an Airbnb while exploring. It seemed to have everything they wanted: a slower pace, a small-town feel and a solid artistic community. They moved during the pandemic shutdown.
“I feel like I’m having my artistic experience here, more so than I ever did in the city,” she says. “I feel community here that I have not felt anywhere else in terms of support and encouragement, allowing me to experience and try things with no judgment, and getting to be a part of so many different things.”
Lately she’s been experimenting with collage, printmaking and hand-carved stamps. “I love that I can do those things freely for myself and have these tactile works that I create,” she explains. “I’ve been trying to work that into my graphic designs. That handmade quality is so important and they’re a personal touch to someone’s branding or the work that I’m creating digitally.”
To see more of Dei Dolori’s work, visit kimdeidolori.co.