I’ve happened to make a new friend through an iPhone application called Instagram. A place to show off your life through photos, whether it’s randomness throughout your day, or artwork that inspires you or what you have created. Discovering Darkie was like finally pulling the blindfold off my eyes, I finally know who’s done this work for a World re-noun artist Drake. Not to define Darkie as a Drake fanatic but to finally know the artist behind the visuals that just keep popping up all over the Internet and on EP releases. People tend to forget that there is an artist behind all these album covers and artworks that stay unknown. Well I found HIM!! ahahah.
I gave him list of questions which were really challenging to answer, especially for a guy who doesn’t really put himself out there. Overall he’s a really cool dude and I have to give it up to Instagram for leading me to a great connection. Make sure to check out www.darkiemade.com
How would you describe your style; what unique characteristics does your work possess?
I don’t think I have a specific style… I think it’s contemporary and kind of street, but always clean. I hate loud and cluttered work. As far as unique characteristics, there is nothing in my work that is just “Darkie”, meaning you can’t look at my artwork and instinctively know I did it. To me, this can be a good and bad thing. Although I have been asked if I did certain artwork, so maybe I’m just not aware of my “style.” Not going to a proper post secondary school and learning the history of design (ie. art history and colour theory) may have hindered me, so I’ve strived to be diverse by picking up a little typography, a little illustration and a little bit of logo design and so on. In retrospect, I was just talking to a friend the other day and asked “Is it bad that I don’t have a specific style like say Grotesk or 123KLAN?” So its funny that you asked this question. I’m hoping that everything I do is “clever” if that counts as a unique characteristic. I try to put a clever spin on everything I do, especially logo design.
Is there a certain type of art buyer that commissions your work frequently? What is that particular market and why do you think your work is desirable to them?
I think the type of clients that come my way are looking for Design firm level design but not design firm pricing (horrible I know). I mostly receive requests for music artwork, illustration, apparel, Cad and Branding jobs from different types of people in many different markets. If I had to pick which repeat customer is giving me the most work at the moment, it would be a young local Black entrepreneur who has his hand in many different markets. I have done branding for his Blog OhverlyCritical.com, his Rolling Paper company “Real Wrap”, and I’ve done flyers for some of his parties. This goes back to me being diverse. I’m able to do any artwork he needs, not just by getting the job done, but doing so with high quality artwork. I guess that’s what makes me desirable to him *Pause* lol… I mean, what makes my artwork desirable. That sounds better, no?
Have you ever evolved your style to broaden your appeal? If so, how?
For sure. You have to or else you’ll get left behind, your style should never remain constant. I never used to do vector Illustration until I met a guy name Mike Taylor, and his artwork blew me away. I instantly thought “I have to learn that ASAP.” I make it a point to keep learning and evolving. I try to keep up on certain magazines and blogs because there is so much to know, and you never know when you might need a certain skill.
What was your most rewarding project? Why?
The most rewarding project was any of the Drake work I’ve done. That was just so unexpected, I had no idea he was gonna blow up like that. It’s not even like I got to hear “So Far Gone” before anyone else. I downloaded it at same time the rest of the world did. They just hit me up on some “We need artwork can you do it?” I said “of course” and the monster grew from there. My artwork went from never being seen to being on the side of an airplane, which is super humbling. I thank the OVO crew for that opportunity. It exposed me to people worldwide, and now people I really look up to have seen my artwork. That has its ups and downs though. People have emailed me with a lot of hate and that really bothered me at first. I was complaining about it one day, and a friend straight laughed at me and said “Are you crazy? You’re from Toronto, Canada… Scarborough! If someone from Scarborough hated on your artwork would you care?You’re worried about the people who have nothing better to do than jump on the internet and blog about your artwork? You should be happy people are seeing it and getting the chance to hate it… hate comes from people who are mad that they aren’t in your position.” That changed my whole perspective on things, and the emails I get from people who love my artwork outweigh the hate, so that also help… lol.