An Artists’ Advocate
Interview of Durette Candito
by Drina Fried, member, Henderson Art Association, Contemporary Art Association, Vegas Art Guild, and Bakersfield Art
The Artwalk Helps Local Artists
When the Spa Director at Canyon Ranch Spa, Blake Feeney, (an interior design client of Durette
Candito’s) had a vision to create “The Art Walk”, together they took that vision to fruition. Durette
took on the job of overseeing the art rotation once a month and helping to jury the work that comes
in. She helps the artists when they sell a piece, AND they take NO commission from the artists! ”It’s
pretty much a labor of love…. Any little bit I can help to get art and culture moving forward in this
area I’m thrilled to do it.” The Canyon Ranch Spa Artwalk (located between the Venetian and the
Palazzo) touches people’s lives, gives artists confidence, and puts local artists’ work in front of all
kinds of people, especially those with an appreciation for the art and the financial ability to collect
choice pieces for investment purposes.
*The Artwalk is not confined to only exhibiting contemporary art, Durette says, “We can take
any local artist at The Artwalk, as long as their work is not disturbing. We’re open to everybody. We
rotate in and rotate out….Everyone will get a chance”.
In her personal art collection, while “Rembrandt is not me”, Durette Candito enjoys very traditional
to very contemporary; sculpture, pencil, as well as ink drawings. Durette is attracted to red in her
artwork and to religious art. Otherwise she isn’t necessarily attracted to a specific subject matter.
She places contemporary pieces right next to very traditional old retablos….”I love the mix”.
Spanish Retablos -paintings of saints and religious objects – different styles depend on the artist-
Renaissance, Folk Art, etc. - usually put on a plank of wood; antiques as well as pieces by new
artists. “I also appreciate the simplistic beauty and intensity of ink stipple work, especially knowing
how much effort that went into it.” Now people are coming up with new and fun photography and
acrylics, using new technological advances. Even in jewelry design there is now “metal clay”. You
can get sterling silver or solid gold, and it comes in clay form until you fire it, and then it becomes
Durette thinks that “people who love art are always looking; not necessarily running into a store
with that in mind” but she advises clients, “Be open, if you find a piece that speaks to you….Find a
way to purchase it. (Not that you can afford to buy everything you want in this economy). One of my
favorite art pieces in my house, (a print) I bartered. We traded, she was also a singer and she
needed a fabulous red dress.”
“As an interior designer, I think it’s my responsibility to be well informed, well read, and know what’s
out there. So when a client says, I love orange, I want contemporary, and it needs to have horses in
it, I strive to have in my memory bank or office file some resource to turn to and pull from. It is all
important that the client feels their space is their own. So even though I led them, I will never say,
‘This is the piece of art you have to hang here.’ I will pull some pieces and narrow their choices so
they can decide.
People enjoy fun art and sculpture that makes you remember the good times in your life”. Once she
traded an artist for a lithographic piece. “I look at it everyday and it makes me smile. Besides music,
I don’t know of any other art form that can change your attitude in that way. Art speaks to you.”
In order for “that way” to occur there are
• Too many visual artists and musicians don’t have the confidence in themselves and their work
to stand up for themselves. “It shows in the amount of money they are charging for their work. I’m
not saying to charge too much, but have the confidence to charge what its worth….If you’re an artist
this is your profession and you don’t need anybody telling you you’re a ‘flake’ or a ‘fly by night’, or
‘That isn’t what you do for a living. What is your day job?’” Durette says, “Stand up and say, ‘That
is my day job. That is what I do for a living!’ Artists need to be proud of what they’re doing, have
confidence in their work, and charge what it is
• Be ready to talk about your personal style and your inspiration as an artist. The art buyer
doesn’t always get that wonderful opportunity to talk to the artist, but if the artist is there, and I am
looking at their art, “I would want them to approach me…If I’m looking at a piece I want to hear their
inspiration. I want them to speak from their heart about that piece of work.”
• If you want to support yourself with your art, “unfortunately the reality is that you need to have
good knowledge of bookkeeping, accounting, and marketing. If you don’t, you need to hire
someone and you need to listen to them, or you need to go to school yourself and really learn that
side of the business. It is necessary.”
• A lot of people think backwards about their framing. They’ll frame a beautiful piece with a
horrendous frame. For example, if there’s a lot of black in the room, “I need to put it in a black
frame”, when it doesn’t relate at all. If the piece is screaming for an orange frame, “you should put
an orange frame to draw out the beauty of the piece…..” Make the frame relate to the art it’s
surrounding, not the décor to the frame.
Durette Candito has had a referral only interior design business in Las Vegas since Fall 2001. Her
showroom features the finest door and cabinet hardware from all over the world, “jewelry for your
home,” and carries unique lighting, furniture, and accessories. People are shocked when they come
into her interior design space. It’s very much her, like coming into her home: colors that please her;
colors that are relaxing. It invites people to stay.
This didn’t happen overnight. She was young when her family left Michigan, mostly schooled in
Santa Fe, New Mexico; learned to sew at age 9; first business at age 15; had 5 seamstresses
producing her custom clothing fashion designs by age 22; and was married with 2 little children.
Apparently due to not knowing how to say “No”, she ended up hospitalized with a diagnosis of
stress to which her doctor said, “Go home and take care of it.” Her answer to that was more school,
perhaps to regroup. With an Associate Degree in architecture in hand, she started out on her own
again for a year; and then she took an internship for a year, learning a lot as a design assistant for a
very high end interior and furniture designer. Then she almost exclusively did interior architecture
working with a high end residential architect from Great Britain for almost ten years. “Those two
men really formed my design aesthetics.” Also she was still in Santa Fe, living there for 25 years,
so how could art in Santa Fe not influence Durette’s taste in art? She was surrounded with design
day and night.
Santa Fe is well-known as a world renowned center for arts that reflect the multi-cultural character
of the city, with “hundreds of galleries”. When Durette lived there, about a dozen different galleries
had reception openings for artists each Friday, so “my friends and I would designate a place to
meet and we walked to half a dozen art openings within three blocks from one another, each week.
It was a normal way of life to have that much art around all the time on a daily basis. True Sante Fe
style is very old European because of its Spanish settlers. Generally many Americans, for example,
perceive only the Indian influence, such as the Navajo and Hopi art; or they think pink coyotes,
which we call “California Sante Fe”.
“There is not the variety of openings in this area like I was used to. I was very spoiled…. It’s sort of frustrating”, Durette
noted nostalgically. After all, she came from a place with a lot of culture with the majority of the population very in tune to
the arts- that being sort of first on their list. Aside from pockets of people, art doesn’t seem like that with the majority here. In
Las Vegas there is so much fake superficiality aimed at the tourist visitors. The glitz, bold, and shiny is on purpose, but it
becomes cold and uninviting, and interferes with simplicity and
For Durette life and art is all about making someone smile, improving someone’s life, and giving
someone confidence to overcome a challenge. “Art is here….We just need to pull it together.” Stand
behind your works…. “We have a lot of good artists here….We have incredible shows and we need
more and more of that”. Art speaks to you, if you’ll listen.
For more about Durette go to www.durettecanditodesign.com
Durette Studio & Durette Candito Design
6985 W.Sahara Ste.105 Las Vegas, NV 89117