By day, Domonique Brown works a normal eight-hour marketing job. By night, she creates beautiful artwork for huge brands like Target, Bath & Body Works, and Urban Outfitters. Brown’s unique crayon and marker art, which adorns everything from dinner plates and throw pillows to phone covers and tote bags, mainly features images of Black women, men, and families in vibrant, highly stylized colors and settings.
Her passion for creating Black art stems from her childhood as a minority in Pomona, California. “Growing up, I was often the only Black kid in my class, and I found it hard to find things that represented my background,” Brown says on her website DomoINK.com. “My father and I would go out of our way to find greeting cards that had images of Black families on [them]. We’d buy them from individual sellers because many retailers didn’t carry them.”
As an adult looking to decorate her own home, the artist recognized there was still a severe lack of Black art at big-box stores. That’s when she decided to do something about it by starting her own brand of art prints, apparel, and home décor in her spare time.
“Our voices, idea, and stories still remain unspoken for in the art world,” Brown says. “I want my portraits to tell unknown stories. I want people of color to be represented.”
One of her most popular prints is her “Black Hair is Dope” portrait, which depicts a Black woman with a head cover and long twisted braids. Brown says of the piece: “I created this portrait to challenge stereotypes about Black people wearing durags. It serves to humanize and normalize that this headpiece is an essential aspect of our culture.”
At the start of the pandemic, Brown was working two full-time marketing jobs, putting in 80-hour weeks and making roughly $130,000 a year. She then quit one of those jobs and started designing in her evening hours. Although “there were a lot of sleepless nights” in the beginning, her artistic investment soon paid off. Brown’s after-hours work now amounts to less than two hours a day now and earns her $22,000 a month, thanks to sales on her website, Etsy shop, Society6 shop, and retail partnerships.
World-renowned companies including Disney, Samsung, and Lowe’s quickly took notice of Brown’s distinctive style and asked for collaborations. She’s even created art for the L.A. Lakers.
This year, Bath & Body Works commissioned Brown to craft a piece in honor of the Juneteenth. The result was an image of a Black family enjoying a picnic on the national holiday. She also recently completed a one-of-one artwork to decorate the walls of a Santa Monica Dr. Martens shop.
While her art career has officially taken off, Brown continues to work a traditional job as a marketing manager for an insurance company offering health care options to low-income Californians — but she loves making her mark with her side hustle.
“My ultimate goal is to make DomoINK a lifestyle retailer that can be a source of representation for those who are underrepresented,” Brown says. “The feedback I have gotten from people who feel seen by my work has been incredibly gratifying, and it inspires me to grow my business even more.”