Taking On the World of Art, Dorentina Cakaj

Art Director and Curator: Dorentina Karaj
Art Director and Curator: Dorentina Cakaj

At 23 years old, Dorentina Cakaj has an enviable client list which includes some or the world’s most recognized and celebrated art talents. One would think that she has always had art as a focal point in her life but it wasn’t until she pursued a higher education at Texas A&M in International Business that she soon realized that her future would not be in business but in the arts. Currently she is in her last year in Design School and will hold a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Visual Communications.

With her natural talents and unique eye for art she has already had the opportunity to work as a designer, artist, art director, curator and photographer. In 2015 she was brought on as Art Director for Lab Art in Dallas, the largest modern/pop art gallery in the nation. At Lab Art, Dorentina curated the exhibition entitled By Way of Dallas highlighting 12 of Dallas’ most well known artists including Grammy winning singer, song-writer and producer, Erykah Badu who debuted her first art installation entitled, “Black Bikes Matter.” 

Among her reputable list of collaborations, Dorentina includes curating for celebrity photographer, Tyler Shields on his series, The Dirty Side of Glamour and photographing actress, Carrie Fisher directly before the release of box office hit, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released in 2015.

If Dorentina’s cumulative body of work is any indication to what her future holds, one would suspect that the world will be seeing a lot more from this fabulous young woman, who has merely scratched the surface in paving the road to a successful career in the art world. Taking a pause with Haute Living, she shares what inspires her the most and some of her favorite spots around Dallas.

Who is your role model: My grandmother is my role model. She emits a lights and elegance about her that is rarely seen. Her outlook and positivity about life has molded my daily thoughts and inspired me. She’s taught me an incredible amount of wisdom. She taught me at an early age to be true to my personal journey, set goals and achieve them. She’s a big part of the woman I am today, and I appreciate and thank her for it.

Where’s your favorite place to travel: I have been fairly lucky towards travel. I spend my winters in New York with my mother’s side of the family and then the summers backpacking through Europe with my father’s side. My uncles in Europe are extremely adventurous so we go on these trips that involve exploring adventures. It’s all a dream over there! Picking my favorite city would be like saying which one dessert to choose out of all the sweets at a magnificent bakery. But if I had to choose a relaxing, calm day to go somewhere I’d have to say it would be this little city in France called Annecy and Lausanne, Switzerland.

Where do you see yourself in the future: Still happy and still working! I have been starting to work behind the scenes for design in the Fashion Industry. I’m working with a few clients here and there and have discussed opportunities with some companies in New York so that may be in the very near future. At 33, which would be 10 years from now, I would love to start my own creative agency – full of elite artists, directors, graphic designers, illustrators, and videographers – that could bring their work to the corporate world of advertising and design. Another goal, would be to open my own gallery with artists of my choosing. With all of that, I would still like to maintain my photography, hopefully have a family, but who knows! Haha, I’m not thinking about that part right now!

What is your overall perspective on art: There are so many different art forms; film, theatre, music, media, photography, writing, painting, I could go on forever but the point is people can LEARN from these and enjoy it. I’m enraptured when viewers experience a certain art form that will give them a sense of pure emotion. I think that’s so intriguing when it comes to the arts, especially when it has a chance to imprint someone in a type of way that lasts a lifetime. Art consumes me every single day. I’m working all the time whether it be design, photography, reading, directing, illustrating, painting, and so on. It’s such a happy place to connect to a medium that makes you enthusiastic, excited, and an insatiable yearning to learn more. I’m “working” but in a sense I’m really not. I can’t stress enough how important the arts are for our society and I hope that I will be able to share the joy it gives me with others. My best advice is, “Go out, explore and share with your loved ones!”

Where are you from: My family is from Europe, but I’m born in raised here in Dallas.

 How long have lived in Dallas: My whole life.

Neighborhood: Uptown

 Occupation: Art Director, Curator, Designer, Artist and Photographer.  

 Favorite Restaurant: My father’s restaurant in Uptown; Hahaha but really, it’s called Bellini’s Italian Cafe.

Best Sushi: Blue Fish Sushi, get their Summer Rolls filled with mango. It’s light and fresh. So amazing!

 Best Sunday brunch: St. Anne Restaurant 

 Best place for a power business meeting: The Conservatory at the Crescent if it’s a meeting in the morning or Ocean Prime for evening.

 Best Spa: The Outdoors, literally.

 Favorite Charity Event: Art From the Heart Celebrity Art Auction and Benefit

 Favorite Cultural Event: Dallas Art Fair

 Favorite Cultural Institution: Dallas Society of Visual Communications

 Best Steakhouse: Nick and Sam’s

 Best Pizza: Serious Pizza

 Best Lunch: Muden Meat & Greens; all local produce and foods.

 Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Equinox

 Best Limousine/Driving Service: Lyft

 Best Museum/Exhibit: Dallas Contemporary

 Describe your city in three words: Friendly, Driven and Booming!

 All-around favorite spot in Dallas: Ascension Coffee, I’m always doing work or reading there.

 Best Aspect of Dallas: It’s a place where you can work hard and see the fruits of your labor. Dallas is driven and we are putting a name out there for ourselves!

 Follow Dorentina on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/dorentinac/?hl=en

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Dorentina Cakaj