Today we’d like to introduce you to Danyel Poindexter.
Hi Danyel, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My story technically starts through digital marketing. Right after finishing college, I scored a really good job in part-time digital marketing at a digital marketing company. I thought this was something that I wanted to do career-wise, something I wanted to get into, and thus I put my full focus on that. After the first job, I got a second in digital marketing as well. My work through both jobs surrounded gathering data and article material for client accounts, assisting with social media, creating content for said client, etc.
My inspiration through my jobs even helped me realize (to some degree) that I wanted to freelance in this field as well. So I created my DP Creative Consulting freelance business where I help really small businesses and new entrepreneurs with getting their thoughts and creativity in order. Sometimes this meant, designing websites for them, creating social posts, assisting in idea dumps, literally consulting them about how they could monetize their creativity and/or what they were currently lacking.
The more I delved into this, however, the more I realized that I, myself, was missing that creative spark I used to have. Graduating with my Bachelor’s in English and my Minor in Studio Art, my original goal was to work on a book and become a published author but while also having a stable job on the side while I get that in the works. The thing was, while I enjoyed the freelance mini business I had started, it lacked that “waking up excited” part oftentimes. So, I got back into art and short story creating.
While I loved creating short stories and working on something bigger, I enjoyed creating new art even more. And so I got into Art Instagram, slowly started making videos, and realized I wanted to get to the point in my life where I’m selling art, creating memberships, etc. I was always taught to go into something I loved, not something that I think would purely just set me up financially. Finance is great, but not being stuck in a cycle of wanting more, was better. And I had a great support circle.
I actually changed potential business names many times before getting into my official Create-O Potatoe name. I started as Nocturnal Studios (because I’m a night owl), then DigiStudios (because I started focusing my artless traditionally and more digitally), then The Sarcastic Artist (because I’m quite sarcastic and that’s my personality people know me by). During all these times, I started creating articles about art and helping beginning art students or general people with tips, and ideas, and concepts.
The Sarcastic Artist is actually a name that I stuck with for a long time until 2020 where I realized I needed something unique, fun, and that displayed a change in attitude I had towards my art. My Sarcastic Artist phase had a lot of traditional media material that focused on the bone structure of the body, abstract, and contemporary concepts, typically dark mediums like charcoal. But I had changed into wanting bright colors, wanting fun characters, and basically changing how I looked at my own art. Thus, I decided for a name change into what I am today Create-O Potatoe and this is definitely permanent. People who know me by The Sarcastic Artist also really enjoyed the change. Create-O Potatoe is about me being a creative potato with a potato character as one of my original characters that came after Sarcastic Bear during my Sarcastic Artist name.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think this is important to note, but being an artist, as most people know, is difficult because you have to literally find a set audience who’s willing to come back to your work, invest their own time, and eventually money into you, the individual. You’re not backed behind a boss or bigger company and assured a paycheck. That said, being a black artist is even harder. It’s a tough if not somewhat touchy subject to touch upon, but while art is one thing, people also have to be interested in the artist themselves. One thing that’s quite common for black people is getting overlooked. We tend to get less promoted on platforms, less interest engaged, basically pushed back often with no explanations, so we have to go the extra mile to make sure that we’re noticed. We’re not the “standard” sometimes if that makes sense. And you also have to go through some stereotypical and racist situations that may make you want to give up on what you’re doing. I’ve experienced all of that.
It’s actually great to see so many fellow young black artists being more noticed and popular in today’s world, but you can easily look up the phrase “being a black artist” and still see the obstacles that other individuals and the black artistic community, in general, still endure.
That said, I personally had a really good support system. When I decided to focus solely on developing my art as a business instead of just a hobby, my family was the purest support system I’ve ever had, and my friends are the ones that started off as my first audience. And I never have and never will take that for granted.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
So, I am a freelance Digital Artist, currently working on becoming an official illustrator as well. I specialize in character-focused art. My original characters, for instance, that are represented quite often in pieces that I come up with are Productive Potatoe or just Potatoe for short and Sarcastic Bear. Typically when I draw humans in my art, it’s for a short break from character creation, typically portraits. Currently, I create stickers and sometimes prints for my members through a monthly membership to get me practice and started on opening my official shop. I also create videos on Youtube that are Studio Vlogs, instructional speed drawings, and tips. Besides the Studio Vlogs, I mostly focus on creating new material for my members. I also work with small businesses either through Creative Consulting or freelance art. I’ve created t-shirt designs for business and art covers.
A lot of my audience and others know me for having a very pink-based art style that involves clouds, plants, and fun concepts. Non-human pieces that I make will often have bubbly faces.
I’m extremely proud of myself for venturing to different forms of art that aren’t just person/human-based, and I think that’s what also sets me apart from others. It’s very common to do portraits through art, and while I do still do them, they aren’t my main material. People come to see my work for my characters or my beginning animations stages. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments for my character Productive Potatoe and even suggestions on what they would love to see Potatoe do next. People want prints, and stickers, and pins. It’s very much a fan favorite. They can’t wait to see what fun, inspirational thing Potatoe does next, and they also can’t wait to see what sarcastic-looking expression Sarcastic Bear has next. That and all of my character ideas and art are based on my own life, even the expressions, which is why I get a lot of people saying character pieces I make are a breath of fresh air or make them laugh. They can relate. Relatable art, to sum it all up!
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Wanting a faster outcome is quite literally physically and mentally exhausting and will cause your health to spiral. It’s difficult being freelance and we want things to manifest faster and catch up with others who aren’t freelancing. But that’s not reality, and the moment we want a faster outcome, it plagues the mind, makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong or why you aren’t super-duper successful all of a sudden.
- $30/hr for art projects/custom pieces
- $30/hr for creative consulting
- $45 for a chibi portrait
- $60 for a full-body chibi portrait
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://withkoji.com/@createopotatoe
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/createopotatoe/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/createopotatoe
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/createopotatoe
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWrfkJieGQ55UeeQQQUQFwA
- Other: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/createopotatoe