After discovering his “PACasso” painting in a restaurant, Raquel Seymone interviews Houston artist Donkeeboy for HiveSociety.com
It’s no secret, my time in the Hive has made me appreciate art and music beyond anything I could have ever imagined. While I’ve always considered myself an “art lover,” it was more in the fleeting “Oh, I love the [insert terminology you learned in your college art appreciation/history class] in this work” as I continue on with my day. It was passive appreciation. But when it becomes your job, your mission to connect with the creative arts world, one has to develop their appreciation, develop an insatiable curiosity to know more and, if possible, everything about the art that stops you.
Such was the case when I was grabbing a bite to eat at the Eastie Boys’ brick and mortar spot. As I searched for my table, I found a peculiar version of Tupac staring at me. I loved it and it loved me. I snapped a picture and went about my business of finding a place in the diner to eat my food. As I sat there looking at the picture, I kept wondering “Who would think to depict Tupac in Picasso’s style?” As I shared earlier… my appreciation has grown to insatiable curiosity. So now, I not only wanted to know who created it, but what inspires the kind of person who creates something like this.
I uploaded the picture on to Instagram and hashtagged it #PACasso. Then it occurred to me to check out the hashtag. Among other Eastie Boy diners who had shared versions of their PACasso sightings, there was the picture uploaded by artist himself. @Donkeeboy
After navigating his site, Donkeeboy.com, I reached out to Donkeeboy to let him know I was interested in his work. Alex Roman, Jr. was very kind and agreed to answer a few questions for HiveSociety.com. Check out the Q&A session below:
Raquel Seymone’s Q&A with Houston-based artist, Donkeeboy.
Raquel Seymone: Hi, Alex! I’m glad I was able to connect with you! I’m a fan of the work I’ve seen. Tell me a bit about yourself? Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
Donkeeboy: I was Born in the H! Houston, TX. I was taken to Mexico as a baby and resided there til about the age of 7 with my Mother and brother (R.I.P. Brother). My father stayed in Houston to work and provide for us.
Raquel: It’s always good to connect with fellow Houstonians! As an artist, how has your upbringing affected your creativity? What influences you and your work?
Donkeeyboy: Life. Experiences I’ve been through, things I’ve seen or would like to see. Growing up where and how I did forced me to be creative. My family has always had to figure things out and come up with different ways just to make it work. We are problem solvers, being creative comes with the territory.
Raquel: If you could describe your art in three words, what would they be?
Donkeeyboy: Playful, Fresh, and sometimes Clever lol
Raquel: HA! I definitely see the playful elements. Who were your main art influences growing up?
Donkeeyboy: My main art influences growing up where my Mother, Salvador Dali
I discovered your work when I saw your ‘PACasso’ painting hanging up in Eatsie Boys. Tell me more about ‘PACasso’. How did it come to life?
Donkeeyboy: Tupac is one of my favorite rappers and I wanted to capture him in a way he hadn’t been before. I wanted to put him on a throne and do him justice. The best way I could do that was to blend him with one of the best artists (Picasso). The idea had been marinating in my head for about 3 weeks and finally one day It hit me “Tupac , Pac , Picasso , PACasso!!!!! “
Lyrics matter to me when I listen to songs so it was only just that I include them as part of my art.
Raquel: What’s your favorite medium to work with?
Donkeeyboy: Paint markers, house paint , cutting wood
Raquel: So I’m big on remembering first achievements, do you recall what your first commissioned work was?
Donkeeyboy: Now that’s a toughie, it was definitely in high school. I would always draw portraits for people just to pick up some extra $
Raquel: Do you have a go-to playlist when you have paintings to complete? If so, what are some of the songs on it?
Donkeeboy: Pandora stations that include Biggie, Pac, Jay Z , and other stations like Toadies , RCHP and some good ol’ jazz.
Raquel: You recently attended Art Basel Miami. How was that experience?
Donkeeboy: I was at the Art Basel in Wynwood and it was just gorgeous. If you are a fan of art you MUST go. So much talent and so many people creating on the the streets.
Raquel: I know! I was so bummed I missed it! Who were three artists that you were excited to see on exhibit while there?
Raquel: You’ve traveled and met interesting people and shown off and sold your work, all things people dream of doing, so what’s been the defining moment of your career so far?
Donkeeyboy: Bun B owns one of my paintings. That’s pretty dope!
Raquel: That IS really dope! I love your depiction on Bun B in your “TRILLer” piece. When creating, do you feel a sense of responsibility to the craft/culture?
Donkeeboy: There’s most certainly a feeling of responsibility I feel when I create. I have fans that are kids and I can’t let them down.
Kids are the most creative people in the world.
Raquel: What feelings do you want to invoke in people when they see your work?
Donkeeboy: If I can get them to feel anything at all, that is already an accomplishment. Joy, Anger, Sadness, etc.
Raquel: Do you consider yourself critical or insecure about your work? How do you overcome it and choose to share it with the world?
Donkeeboy: There’s always a sense of insecurity I go through before I show a new piece, but I am way more critical than insecure. I just know I can be better. I’m horrible at keeping secrets and I feed off of criticism, so for me it’s an easy thing. I want to hear the good and the bad ASAP. Hopefully, it’s more good than bad lol
Raquel: If you can change one thing about our world/society, what would it be?
Donkeeboy: [Ending] Racial profiling.
Raquel: How do you hope to give back to the community? As an artist? As a part of Humanity?
Donkeeboy: I want people to see that even a Donkee can make it through with hard work and dedication. Nothing is impossible. That will be my contribution CONFIDENCE.
Raquel: What community service project/Charity Event would you like to see the Hive Society do in the future and why?
It would be great to see the Hive Society develop a project that brought artists and kids to paint murals around the city. Imagine how cool these kids would feel when they pass by a mural they helped paint.
Raquel: I love that idea! If you had a $1,000,000 and you had to give it all away to charities. What are the 3 Charities/Causes you would give your million too?
Donkeeboy: This is such a difficult question and its super tough to only pick 3 but I would def have to help kids. If I have to pick 3 they would be to help hungrier children, children with cancer, education for children whodon‘t have the opportunity for it.
Raquel: With art and music programs being cut in public schools, what can we do to encourage children to fall in love with and be inspired by art?
Donkeeboy: Starting the mural program I mentioned could be a start, also support more community builders like Breakfreehouston.com
Raquel: Ok so we like to know random things about artists we feature on HiveSociety.com. Will you humor us and answer a few? If you were in Harry Potter, what House would you belong to, and what would you use your magic for?
Doneeboy: Hufflepuff, because they value hard work, patience, loyalty. I had to google that. I would have a super sick magic power like the ability to create any magic power I want hahhaa
Raquel: Your favorite rap lyric?
Donkeeboy: “All right! Stop whatcha doin’ cause I’m about to ruin the image and the style that your used to” [“The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground (1989)
As you can see, Donkeeboy embodies the the characteristics he attributes to his art. I’m glad my curiosity led me to him and his work! Thank you for the opportunity to chat, Alex!
You can check out more of Donkeeboy’s art and even buy some of them on shirts on Donkeeboy.com