To optimists, every cloud has its silver lining. Mietzker’s personal life-cycle story is even more interesting than those of his artistic subjects — he possesses human resilience and ingenuity that so far we have not been able to replicate in our industrial artifacts. Shortly after he and his wife, Diane Provost, moved from Montreal to Smiths Falls with their infant daughter to pursue Dirk’s career as an industrial designer, his Kanata-based firm downsized. After a fruitless search for work in his field, the couple decided to give Dirk the opportunity to build an artistic career in between his responsibilities as the baby’s primary caregiver, while Diane taught art in the public school system.
It was a tough transition, but Mietzker found that the freedom of creating art as your own “boss” was a liberating change from the endless criticism and questions he faced as a designer. These days, his only authorized critic is his well-qualified wife, and she judges each painting by the same simple but exacting criterion: “Do I feel something when I look at it?”
His breakthrough as a professional artist occurred in 1996, shortly after his first public exhibition at the Heritage House Museum in Smiths Falls. An American couple noticed his paintings at a gallery in Merrickville and invited him to exhibit his work at their gallery in Vermont where he was represented for ten years until their recent retirement.