Sandpoint artist captures the incredible beauty that surrounds us all By Jillian Chandler
From a young age, Tammy Mitzka Crawford had a passion for art, and at just 14 years of age, she began selling her artwork. Over the years, her focus has shifted from fashion to murals, and for more than two decades, she has been dedicated to creating 3-D wall sculptures, as well as photography, writing, coaching and teaching.
“About 25 years ago, I was asked to cover a drywall seam that was 17 feet,” she remembers. “From then on, people would request that I add some 3-D elements to their murals. In the last 10 years, I started putting the two arts together—painting and 3D sculpture. I created a style that stands out. It is unique.”
Tammy has always believed that we must follow our hearts and do what we love. “Life is too short to waste time doing things we don't enjoy,” shares Tammy, owner of her namesake art gallery—Mitzka Fine Arts, LLC. “My health conditions meant having a flexible schedule and pursuing my creativity in many ways. I paint, write and take photographs because it brings me joy. It's how I express myself and connect with the world around me. And it's how I make a living. I'm so grateful to do what I love every day. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it. I hope my work and story can inspire others to follow their dreams and pursue their passions. Life is too short to settle for anything less than happiness.”
Attracted to the beauty and the four-seasons lifestyle of North Idaho, Tammy and her husband, along with their two daughters, moved to Sandpoint in 1996. “When we started crossing the Long Bridge into Sandpoint, we just felt this is where we were meant to be,” she recalls.
She appreciates being a part of a small town and its relaxing atmosphere, while being immersed in the local community and the opportunity to meet new people. “I enjoy being a part of the community because it allows me to support other local businesses. I believe it’s important to shop locally and promote the arts in our community,” she adds.
Tammy credits God, and surrounding herself with positive people, good coaches and mentors, for the success she’s found in living and breathing her passion. “The most rewarding part of my work is the opportunity to be creative and encourage others,” she says. “I love taking an idea and turning it into something tangible that can make people smile or think or feel. Seeing the joy that my work brings to others motivates me to continue doing what I do.”
As an artist, Tammy strives to stand out with her own style—for example, her 3-D wall sculptures are each original, custom and unique. “My clients come to me because they know they’ll get something no one else has,” she affirms. “When I create a piece/wall sculpture installation for a client’s home or business, a lot goes into it. I start by listening to my client’s stories and designing the art piece for them and their home. That’s what makes my business unique and why I’ve found success.”
For the past 35 years, Tammy has mentored youth and currently mentors a few young adults in the area.
In October 2022, Tammy just released her book, titled “The Power of Art and Nature,” which celebrates the human spirit and its potential for resilience and growth. “The purpose of my book is twofold,” she shares. “I want to share my story and my journey of using art and nature as healing. Secondly, I want to encourage and inspire others who may be facing similar challenges to do the same.
“I firmly believe that everyone has the power within them to heal themselves, and I hope that my book will serve as a source of inspiration for others. Through my own story, I show that it is possible to overcome adversity and thrive in the face of it.”
With a goal to enhance people’s lives through the creation of beautiful art that causes them to reflect, imagine and be inspired, Tammy’s passion lives on through each of her creations.
Mitzka Fine Arts, LLC PO Box 404 Cocolalla, Idaho 83813 208.691.5964