"For the painter, there is no place like a well-lit studio with windows that let the sky in—where light washes away the worries of the world outside and vibrates in color."

Dani Knoph Davis is an artist, writer, and advocate for wildlife conservation in Michigan. She launched Dani Knoph Wildlife Studio in 2017. Archival prints of her artwork can be found at specialty shops and galleries. In 2017, Dani joined a statewide effort to reintroduce Northern Michigan’s once predominant native salmonid species, known as the Arctic Grayling.

In 2017, Dani was asked to write a feature story about Arctic Grayling restoration for Traverse Magazine. Research led her down a rabbit hole through Michigan’s pre-conservation past. Historical records and photography of the late 1800s revealed a grim period of deforestation, barren river banks, displaced Native Americans, and declining wildlife. Learning about this era of habitat destruction inspired her to learn about the current state of Michigan wildlife and native species. That’s when a friend introduced her to Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan, a statewide framework to coordinate conservation for wildlife and habitats by working together toward shared goals—a plan that acknowledges 300 species in need of conservation. 

Dani received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Michigan and studied painting at the Glasgow School of Art


Dani’s work begins with a wildlife species and a sheet of watercolor paper. She works with old fashioned nib pens and ink to draw structure and texture observed in photographic references. She then works with fine round brushes to layer transparent watercolor washes. Limited edition archival prints are available for each work of art.


Making It: 3 Wildly Creative Northern Michigan Illustrators, written by Molly Korroch