This month, a Seattle artist is making his national debut in partnership with Starbucks. Damon Brown is a multidisciplinary artist whose current work consists of public artwork, illustration, and painting/digital painting. He works under the studio name Creative Lou.
February is Black History Month and Brown designed three mugs that are available across the U.S. and Canada, while supplies last.
“Damon Brown’s collection celebrates Black culture and community,” Starbucks said in a statement. And “the design’s graphic elements convey a modern sensibility; he chose soothing shades of pale blue, green and cream with a 1960’s vibe for the color palette.” The Starbucks Artist Collaborative Series invites artists to create merchandise as a blank canvas to bring their unique stories and experiences to life.
“I fell in love with art at a young age,” Brown said.
His love started with cartoons and comic books in the second grade and expanded from there. By the time he attended Garfield High School, he was designing play posters and other projects for school. While studying art at Washington State University, he did illustrations for the school newspaper.
All of those art exercises and education served him well when he landed his first job as a graphic designer, working on logos, movie posters, web design, and even medical illustrations.
“I was able to combine all of these skills to produce some fantastic work,” Brown said.
And work, he did.
In a bold move for any artist, Brown quit his full-time job in marketing and started his own artistic studio: Creative Lou.
“Since opening up my studio in Seattle, I’ve been able to use my talents to give back to the city that raised me through various creative outlets,” Brown said.
His current work consists of public artwork, illustration, and painting/digital painting.
After he participated in the city of Seattle’s bootcamp for public art, Brown started reaching wider audiences with his art. He now has public art installations at Uncle Bob Place in the Chinatown International District (CID), Children’s Hospital Othello location, and one currently under construction at the Africatown Plaza. There are local murals at Starbucks, the Outdoor Research headquarters, and the Seattle Mariners’ Steelheads Alley. He’s created illustrations for Thomas’s Bakery and Microsoft Xbox. And on Monday, they just broke ground at the new Fire Station 31 which will feature his 1800sf public art piece which will be integrated into the building.
He says there’s something about having your artwork embedded in the city landscape that feels a little bit different.
“There’s something special about having your art being part of a building that will be there for many years,” Brown said. “And it feels like it makes a bigger impact. Like it can change the community or invite people to visit the city.”
In addition to staying very busy with his paintings, digital art, illustrations, and many large-scale projects, Brown has been on the mission to give back to the youth, inspire and mentor other artists. He serves on the Executive Board of Coyote Central, an inclusive youth arts organization. And has been partnering with other organizations to teach classes and share his experiences. The advice he offers young artists: keep practicing, keep exploring, and don’t get frustrated or give up!
More information can be found at creativelou.com.