Artist Profile: Duane Douglas (b.k.a Raisin Brand)
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
CA: What made you first start drawing?
RB: I used to write all over the walls in the house with markers and crayons. Whatever I could get my hands on really. I used to do it so much that my mom wouldn’t even bother cleaning after a while. She purchased washable markers so instead of telling me don’t do that, she embraced it and could wash it away.
CA: How did your style evolve since you were a kid to now? RB: I definitely have more confidence in my lines and it has led me to more precise line work. A lot more technical drawing perspectives and things of that nature. I want to keep building on that by putting things into worlds more as opposed to being solely graphic. Instead of being monolithic on a page, they exist within an environment now. Everything seems more developed and thought out.
CA: Did you have any influential role models or mentors to you? RB: Not till later. I can’t say I looked up to a certain person. I was always trying to chase myself to make myself better. When it comes to this, I am kind of hedonistic. I see this and I say ok this is cool. I want to do better than I just made. Every single piece, I try to beat myself over the last one. I am just competitive with myself and that is how I grow. If I have a role model, I feel like I will be biting their style. I will end up looking like that person. Raisin Brand’s style looks like such and such. I want someone to say your style looks like Raisin Brand.
CA: Which do prefer: blank canvas or notebook? RB: I have a bad notebook habit. I love notebooks, black books, and sketch books. I go from two extremes either small and detailed or very large in scale. I don’t have a medium, it is from one extreme to another. Doing post cards or things in the books which could be a two page spread. From that it could jump to a 24” x 18” canvas or 64” by something (big like walls).
CA: What do you feel in front of a blank canvas or empty notebook? RB: With the notebook, I feel more used to it I would say. I carry notebooks around. For the canvas, I have to go meet it. It is more of an event when it comes to the canvas. Going back to the notebook, it is always on me. If I have a quick idea, I can sketch that up. At any moment, it clicks back to something on like page 32 or something like that. Let me bust that out and start working on it. Those feelings are basically from experience on how I felt about them before. I work faster in the notebook while with the canvas I take my time with it.
CA: Do you have a favorite piece? RB: I would say my favorite piece of mine is Baby G who is four eyed, four winged, three tailed elephant. I like that piece a lot because I started venturing into this world and making them mine. Giving them different qualities which makes them supernatural (since they are in a sense not of nature).
My favorite piece of another artist would be Kandinsky composition 8. Take a look at the forms and the colors work together. Another I have is an artist named McBess, his style is pure black and white graphic characters. The way he creates depth is dope and his attention to detail is impressive. I don’t have a favorite piece of his because his embodiment of work is worth mentioning.
CA: What has been your greatest accomplishment RB: This makes me extra proud. Everything I complete and I am always striving to be better. Everything I make is to be equivalent to the level that I am on. I want to keep pushing that. Right now, I am currently working on a piece for the Black Madonna show and I am putting my everything into that piece. Currently standing as my greatest work is a piece called Do I Dare Disturb the Universe. I put everything into it, a pinnacle of everything I have learned.
CA: What do you wish your younger self had known about art that you know today? RB: I would tell myself how to make money with it at the time. To make more to sharpened the skills. Practice makes perfect after all.
CA: Why have you been successful so far? How will those reasons change in the future? RB: I don’t know when to stop and that is a good and a bad thing. It is just that hunger. A lot of people stop what they are doing for whatever reason that may be.
CA: When it comes to art, what sparks a piece for you? RB: That is interesting because I have been thinking about that lately because I was trying to draw a personal piece. I tried to get myself into that state of mind. It was me daydreaming about stuff randomly or something that someone said that stuck with me. I glimpsed at something and thought it was something else potentially a cloud or street sign. Those tricky moments cause me to daydream and it might cause me to put it into a piece. Constant fluid thought I feel like what leads to me creating pieces.
CA: What is fulfills you by doing artwork? RB: The fulfilling aspect of doing artwork is seeing what I made and knowing I can make something. If I want to make a table, I can a table. I can even sculpt a table (laughs). It is just that aspect of making something. Being creative. I guess that is the allure of it to me. Being able to create anything. Do anything.
CA: Where do you see yourself in five years? RB: In five years, on the art side I should have my Raisin Brand already in full effect. That includes mural services, clothing, and maybe even a tattoo division. I do a lot of work with OBSG and we should be in a position where anything I wanted to do artistically can be done. At that point, if I wanted to make a movie or something that demands a group effort we can fulfill any project.
CA: Explain how graffiti impacted your artwork? RB: Using an aerosol can is way harder than a lot of these other mediums. What that teaches you is a discipline to respect your tool. The markings that are made on a wall or canvas, the movement you have made has to be fluid. It moves like you. When you are drawing, you don’t treat the pencil as if you would writing. You hold it differently, you treat it as if you were drawing. You respect the pencil. You flow with it. Doing that has led to my art building confidence in the way I treat my lines and colors. Stylistically, it has driven me to use very vivid colors and incorporate thick outlines in my work. I love fading and dripping effects also.
CA: What is fading or dripping effects? RB: Drips come about intentionally or unintentionally. That is the mark of a good graffiti artist if you can make a piece without drips. Some people spraying in one spot to induce the dripping effect. Some like it and some don’t. It is a preference thing.
Fading is gradient when colors fade into another. Doing transitions with a spray can is easier than a marker. And my transitioning to felt markers, it was kind of eye opening.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for? RB: I want it to stand for me being unapologetically me. Whatever I did at the end of the day was still me. My portfolio is my magnus opus. It is spanning me. Every facet of me from 3D design to painting to tattooing, I want it to encompass every way I express myself.
CA: What is the best advice you can give someone with a strong desire to do art like yourself? RB: Keep going because I feel anybody can draw. You have to keep going with it. You need to figure out your style and how to express yourself. If you don’t, you would figure it out by trying. If you see something and you don’t like it, then you know it is not you. Draw things for emotion to elicit a response in your viewer.