The Art & Design of Dai

Dai is a fine artist and graphic designer based in Atlanta. He has worked with a plethora of streetwear brands to help design their collections. He’s proud of his work with these brands, but says that he has big aspirations in the fine art world. “Art is freedom, while design is a solution,” Dai tells us. He currently has artwork in galleries in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Milwaukee, but hopes to “work with gallerists like Maddox” one day. Read our full interview with Dai below.

While scrolling through your Instagram feed, you can see the evolution of your work when going from the bottom to the top – how long have you been pursuing art so far and how were you able to settle into your current style?

What’s your creative process like? How do you approach starting a new piece?
I mix both digital and traditional for almost everything I do commercially. I have a ton of different processes though. It’s kind of hard to explain because it all depends on the outcome I’m going for. I’ll explain one process I have – I love to draw in charcoal. I’ll do multiple charcoal sketches until I find one I like, scan it digitally and then draw-out assets to incorporate into it. I then will colorize it digitally, or sometimes I’ll draw out the color on separate scans because I like the natural texture of physical mediums that you can’t always get digitally. But again, that’s just one of many processes. I can walk you through specific pieces, but trying to explain everything is nearly impossible. I will say, my favorite mediums are charcoal, oil paint and Adobe Illustrator. A contradiction for sure, but art shouldn’t make sense [laughs].
That’s fair – it’s not bad to have many different mediums! Now I know you said you’ve been working in streetwear lately as well – tell me a little about that.
I design for basically every streetwear brand in New Orleans, a few in Atlanta, Los Angeles and NYC. Some brands I’m under contract to be a ghost designer so I can’t really speak about those, but some of my favorite brands I design for are Tvche and Haunt Nola. They give me a lot of room to experiment and find new aesthetics. Other brands have very strict guidelines that they don’t like to move out of, which I understand, but it’s very limiting creatively.
Is clothing design something you see yourself doing long-term?
It’s definitely not bad to have those goals, though. And it seems that you’ve been making some big strides already, so congrats on that! Can you tell me a bit more about your paintings that are displayed in galleries? How long did it take you to get these placements and what does it mean for you to have them?
Since you seem to be ever-evolving and refuse to put yourself in a box, do you see yourself dabbling in any new mediums in the future?


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