Brandon Johnson is a graphic designer coming out of Charlotte, NC who has taken his talent of drawing to a whole other level by not only doing portraits of people but has expanded to putting his work on home decor, phone cases, bags and more. In his feature he speaks on his expansion, how he wants to give his art back to the black community and more.
1. Where did your interest in graphic design begin?
Well I always liked drawing, so as a kid I use to always go to the magazine section just to look at covers or album covers. I use to actually draw whoever was on them.
2. Why did you take the direction of designing for hip-hop culture?
I just always liked music. I use to want to be a DJ like Jermaine Dupri but I figured if I can design for a record company that would be cool.
2a. What is your favorite moment in hip-hop history?
My favorite moment in hip-hop history was when Snoop Dogg was on the Source Awards and he said, “The East Coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg? Y’all don’t love us?” I thought that was the most realest thing ever to be in the middle of the East Coast and West Coast beef and to be in NY and get boo’d but go so hard on stage.
3. When did you decide to expand putting your work on home decor and more? Why?
I just feel like art is everywhere, even with interior design. The way you place the pillow on the couch is art-it’s all about presentation. When I see movies and the actor has a dope loft or apartment I always think, “That’s dope, I cant wait until folks have my art in their house somewhere.”
4. Do you prefer to do portraits of celebrities or people in the “regular world”?
Both. The Average Joe will look at your art and be in awe like, ” Bro that’s dope you blanked”, and that kind of gives you more fire to keep going. Celebs are cool but they don’t always see it in their mentions and comments because they’re too crazy. Tae Heckard liked my work, as well as singer Ravaughn, also got a “dope” comment from The Game so that’s cool. They’ll get you followers and potential clients but it’s not promised. Young Thug baby mama reached out to me after I did a design for him so it’s kind of a hit or miss with the celebs.
5. What inspired you to do the “Straight Outta Charlotte, Durham and etc..” series?
NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. I saw the movie commercial and just thought, “That”ll be a dope Charlotte shirt.”
6. How would you like to give your art back to the black community?
Those who know me know I’m a humiantarian at heart. I want to start my non-profit soon but one idea I have as far as giving back is to just do a bunch of art work and sell it and donate the proceeds. When all of the police killings were going on I sold, “Please Don’t Shoot”, shirts on teespring.com and gave 100% of the profits to Mothers Of Murdered Offspring.
7. Do you do anything besides graphic design?
I work a regular 9-5 but I have so many ideas. I want to quit my job, move to Cali and chase my dreams like they do in the movies but hey that’s Hollywood-I gotta eat.
8. Any big projects coming soon?
Big projects? Not at the moment. I have a few plans with two of my homies who are twins (how ironic because I’m a twin too) but we have plans. We just have it on hold at the moment but it’s so much we want to do, we just have to come to some kind of conclusion and just make it happen. Been wanting a t-shirt line but that NOW is the “thing ” to do, everybody do it, but I want to design everything from clothes, billboards, skateboards-everything that art can go on.
9. What is your favorite aspect of Charlotte art/culture?
Charlotte is growing in the art community and the music is poppin’ with so many artists from III, Revenue, Elevator Jay, Nadia Sade’ Boss Of Da City, Lil Juwan, Krazy Fiz (who produced dope records for Jeezy and a lot of other artists I listen to and done work for)-I buy all their music on iTunes. A lot of singers, models, artists and The Showroom Gallery came and is giving artists a platform to showcase their work. Even the fashion is taking off, it’s so many artists in Charlotte that are actually talented and really grinding. I salute them all, even the barbers, shoutout to the barbers because that’s art as well. My barber Dukes and I always talk about art, ideas and advice, he supports my art movement, with every haircut there is an inspiring conversation.
Brandon wants to leave everyone with these last words: