‘I work less than 2 hours a day on it’

At the onset of the pandemic, I was putting in 80-hour work weeks in two full-time marketing jobs. I earned a total salary of $129,000 per year.

But a part of me felt that something was missing. I have always had a passion for making art and I wanted to have the time to pursue it. So in April 2020 I quit one of my jobs to start a side hustle. I wanted to see if I could really make it as an artist.

I called my brand DomoINK, which is a play on my name and the materials I use. I create original artwork using colored pencils and markers, printing my designs on everything from socks to laptop cases to sneakers.

“Black Hair is Dope”: I created this portrait to challenge stereotypes about black people wearing durags. It serves to humanize and normalize that this headdress is an essential aspect of our culture.

Photo: Domonique Brown

There were many sleepless nights, but investing in my talent has paid off. I’ve had the chance to work with big companies like Disney, Samsung, Lowe’s and the LA Lakers.

Today I make $22,000 a month selling art online through my websitemine Etsy and Society 6 stores and retail stores such as Target and Home Goods.

To create works of art that shed light on important subjects

Growing up, I was often the only black kid in my class, and I had a hard time finding things that represented my background.

My dad and I would go out of our way to find greeting cards with pictures of black families. We would buy them from individual sellers because many dealers didn’t have them.

I created this piece for Bath & Body Works to celebrate Juneteenth.

Artwork: Domonique Brown

I never limit myself when it comes to experimenting with ideas.

For example, I made a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. with colored pencils. Mine Tik Tok showing my process went viral and led to a collaboration with Bleacher Report to draw UNC basketball coach Hubert Davis in the same style.

And this year, I was hired by Bath & Body Works as an illustrator to create an image of what Juneteenth means.

I work less than 2 hours a day on my side hustle

On weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I work from home as a marketing manager.

After I log out of my day job, I switch gears and create artwork. I spend about 10 hours during the week, including weekends, on DomoINK.

For about an hour, I’ll go on TikTok or Instagram and try to find trending videos, then put my own spin on those trends to promote my store.

I created this piece using Adobe Illustrator.

Photo: Domonique Brown

Expanding my commercial art business

When I started, every single painting and product was made to order. Since I never worked on any projects unless I had a commission, I didn’t have to worry about expensive inventory.

My prices range from $18 socks to a $5,000 painting called “Reflection” which sold just days after I put it up for sale on my website.

“Reflection” is one of my best selling pieces.

Photo: Domonique Brown

To keep costs down by not investing in ads, I am currently focused on creating organic reach through social media.

In addition to my Etsy sales, I make money by licensing my artwork non-exclusively to platforms like Society6, which I created for free. The downside is that I only get a 10% commission on the products I sell.

This piece, which features elements of black history, was inspired by Beyonce’s visual album, “Black Is King.”

Photo: Domonique Brown

This 28-year-old works 3.5 days a week and earns $189,000

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