Dennis Nagelkirk
artist & filmmaker

[The worst part about going freelance was receiving foreclosure letters for 8 straight years.]

“It was feast and famine. I would do a $6,000 dollar painting, but it would take 6 months. When the money came I paid my bills, but then go into debt all over again. I still can’t believe I never lost my house. I sold it in 2015 and used the money to buy better cinema cameras and lenses. I kept going.”

Meet Dennis

Dennis Nagelkirk is a multi-disciplined artist with a broad creative portfolio of drawing, painting, writing, graphic design, photography and documentary filmmaking.

Dennis wanted his work to speak for itself so CurlyHost attempted to frame the work without overwhelming the viewer. The result is easy navigation with small flashes of web-design that won’t overpower the artist’s work, but rather compliments it.

“I was stuck in a factory…”

“I started drawing and dabbling with paint in high school. I had plans to take it further in college but I became a father during my senior year of high school. I had to find art instruction in other more flexible and affordable ways.

“I was stuck in a factory for the first 11 years of my adult life. I paid my bills, paid child support and bought a shitty, rundown house in my hometown. It was a money pit, but it secured my relationship with my son– it was two blocks from his grade school and he could walk home almost every day.

“Right before I turned 30, I made the brave leap to quit my job and pursue schooling and freelance creative work. I was fully prepared to lose everything to do what I was meant to do.

“My first paid documentary gig was for an organization that took in teenage girls in transition situations. I interviewed girls who’d been through hell and back: sexual abuse, drugs, legal trouble, deported parents, prostitution… They were painful stories, coming from hopeful and bright teenagers. It was crazy. My film was only supposed to be 3 minutes long, but it ended up being over 10 minutes. I’m still very proud of it. It was more than I bargained for, but the experience was life-changing.

“From there I began picking up other little jobs, increasing my skills, the quality, and my equipment along the way. Currently, I’m able to make a consistent living writing, filming, editing, designing, photographing, drawing and painting. I don’t ever struggle to find work. It’s pretty amazing.”

“I’m incredibly grateful that I get to be freelance.”

“My advice is to live frugally and work hard. You might work 60 to 70 hours a week for years, just investing in your craft. Put your profits into your business, and not your standard of living. Play the long game and look at the big picture. Now that I have a dynamic portfolio and a great website, I’m overwhelmed with new opportunities.”

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