Every month, we invite a new artist to take the ThinkNW logo and make it their own. We asked artist Dae’Onna Kang Clark, a local Portland Art Director and graduate of the OneSchool portfolio school to give us her take on this February logo.
How did you initially want to approach your interpretation of the ThinkNW logo? What were your thoughts and inspiration?
When I learned that I was given the month of February to design the ThinkNW logo for, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate as many references to African American history as possible due to February being Black History Month. I took inspiration from the art styles of Aaron Douglas and Synthia Saint James, two influential Black artists, and from the many good and bad impactful events that occurred to black people throughout American history.
How did the direction in designing the ThinkNW logo evolve/change over time?
The direction I wanted to take the ThinkNW logo definitely changed over time as there were so many things I wanted to add since African American history and culture are so vast. What helped was narrowing down what elements I wanted to focus on like making each letter represent an event that occurred throughout history, such as “H” being the Underground Railroad and “I” being the Harlem Renaissance, and using bright colors and busy patterns.
What are some of the specific elements in the ThinkNW logo design that you feel are unique/cool/fun (i.e., palette, illustration, overall style)?
I really loved creating the small details that interacted with each letter such as smoke coming off the “N” which represents the Tulsa Race Massacre or the little bus driving on the “T” for the freedom rides as they were fun to draw. The subtlest, cool little detail I included is coloring the “H”, “I” and “N” using red, white and blue to represent America’s flag’s colors.
When did you know that art was something that you wanted to pursue?
I have loved creating art for as long as I can remember; however, I also love storytelling, learning new things and thinking outside the box which left me very confused on which career I should strive for. It wasn’t until I discovered advertising that I realized I could have everything I loved into one career so I became an art director which has been amazing!
What are your biggest inspirations in your art (i.e., people, places, things)?
I know it sounds cliché, but I truly take inspiration from everything around me. I love listening to music and realizing that a lyric perfectly suits the mood of a campaign I’m creating, or how a flower I see on my walk home has the prettiest color palette which I could use for my newest art piece, etc. I love incorporating the things I experience from the way I see the world into my art because it makes me happy and keeps my art fresh.
Do you think that you have a style? If so, how would you describe it? If not, why is that?
Haha, I do think I have a style even though I can’t describe it. My style usually consists of whatever I like at the moment as I believe everything, including my art style, should be constantly growing and evolving. Right now I’m really into art that has strong contrast and fun textures.
What is most important to you when expressing your art?
I think the most important part of expressing art is that it should resonate with someone. Anyone could make something beautiful but it truly becomes a special piece of art when someone is able to look, read or experience it and feel moved and seen.
Where do you feel your art is going next?
I’ve been freelancing on a variety of projects these past several months and my work has been ranging from things like a logo for a childcare business, to a music video to experiential pop-ups for a brand campaign. It has been incredible getting to work on such diverse work and getting to learn from so many different fields and channels so I want to continue on this momentum and see what else I can work on! I would love it if my work is able to spread and grow by continuing to pick up more freelance work or even a full-time art director role somewhere so the world can see more of my work.