Artist Series: Donte Neal

Donte Neal is a multi-disciplinary artist and culture fanatic. As a self-taught graphic designer, illustrator, animator, and fine artist, he discovers and learns by experimenting with the distilled elements of hip-hop and projecting them in unexpected places.

Donte designed the Juneteenth T-Shirt and Crewneck now available in our online store. He is also the designer of our flagship School of Thought collection, the Soul of a Nation collection, the Black Panther's Comic apparel, the Reclaim BLK collection, and the Embodied collection.

More information about Donte is available here

Artist Donte Neal

How would you describe your artistic style?

My approach to design is subjective. It changes depending on whatever I'm working on. If I'm designing a period piece then it should take style cues from that era. In general, my approach is to isolate the DNA of the subject, synthesize it, and reinterpret it based on the specific point that I'm trying to make. That way any secondary or tertiary iterations of that point are made from the same fabric. This technique gives my work the foundation that it needs to resonate. With all that said, I sometimes look at my past work not truly knowing how to feel about it because it doesn't always represent me in a personal way. Sometimes art isn't self-expressive but more a sacrifice and service to others.

What would your dream project look like?

I have so many of them. But, I think that one dream project would be to design and produce body prosthetics that create more artful or alternative options for people who need them- on a worldwide scale.  From an audio/visual perspective, it would be to collaborate on an album and short film with Thom Yorke.

Tiny Room for Elephants mural Open paint cans on cardboard

First thing you'd grab in a fire?

The first thing that I'd think about is grabbing the people that I live with- my family members. But, you said "thing". So, I don't want to get that confused. The first "thing" that I'd grab most likely would be my wallet. I'm just thinking that I'll probably have to make arrangements to take care of my family; which again is the thing most important to me.

What are your favorite things about your neighborhood?

Access to fresh food from a Farmer's Market. Access to nature. The quiet is key. And seeing the folks that most represent the culture that I come from.

Your go-to album…

This is a heavy question. I would say that Voodoo by D'Angelo might be in my top 5 favorite albums of all time. It was an album that captured some of my favorite textures from the African diaspora. From another angle, it was like a year 2000 version of Trouble Man (Marvin Gaye) to me. I was just about to graduate high school when it came out which was such a transformative period for me. It was a time when I started to realize some things about my life that I wanted/needed to change. Voodoo is one of the albums that helped me make a choice between self love and self destruction. It's wild that music can make or break you that way.

Juneteenth T-Shirt Juneteenth apparel close up

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