In a sea of creatives and makers, it always feels special to come across an artist that you love. It feels extra special when you learn that the artist is someone you want to be friends with and has the same taste as you. That's how I felt when I cam across Daneisha Davis' shop, Pixel & Ink Creative.
I first came across Daneisha's work after seeing her murderino T-shirt because finding an artist who loves My Favorite Murder is pretty much always a sure sign that I'll like the rest of their work. Of course, it was just as true in this case. I soon learned that Pixel & Ink was also full of cute pins, beautiful art, and other shirts I'd love just as much. Following along with Daneisha and her work has been such a delight, and I'm so pleased to introduce her to you today. Read on to learn more about how she get her start, how she pushes herself, and some of her favorite pieces. (As a side note, I'm also a huge fan of Daneisha's personal Instagram where she shares her sewing projects!)
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?
A: I officially started my business in 2014. This was a couple of years after I graduated with a graphic art degree. I never planned to start a business, but after working short term design jobs, I quickly learned working for someone else just wouldn’t work out. My mental health took a big hit while working the first job (seriously, over ⅓ of my pay was going to therapy!). I always say I just draw/make things I like and hope other people like them too. I started by selling art prints of my work and some smaller things I had sewn at the time. After my first couple of art markets, I realized people really wanted functional artwork so my offerings evolved.
Q: What was your first product to take off or find enough success that you were encouraged to do more?
A: I can think of 2: The first was a set of four Louisiana magnets featuring my illustrations of our state flower, bird, mammal, and insect. I came up with that idea about 2 weeks before a big art market and they sold out pretty quickly. The second one is my “Terrible Adult” shirt. I don’t sell that one anymore (though, I’ve considered bringing it back), but I still have a few of the matching enamel pins.
Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting a business? Were you nervous to share it?
A: My mom is a business owner so she’s always been my loudest cheerleader. She believes in me when I don’t believe in myself which is quite often! When I started this thing, I didn’t have anything else going on so I would draw things and post them on my personal facebook page. Everyone was very receptive so I made an art page and started posting there. It really just felt like a natural progression to selling my artwork.
Q: Did you work another job while you were starting or do you currently still work another job? If not, how long did it take you to turn this into a full-time venture?
A: I jumped in head first and never looked back! I feel like not having anything to fall back on makes me work that much harder at this. To make sure that I give this dream all I have.
Q: If we’re being honest, I found your shop through some of your My Favorite Murder designs. What has your experience been so far designing items inspired by fandoms (MFM or others)?
A: I honestly wish I could create more My Favorite Murder things, but I think I move too slow! My Murderino shirts are the best seller on my website and they have been for quite a while. Murderinos are seriously some of the very best people. I don’t do too many pop culture things, but I did just finish 4 food related pieces from Billy Madison and people really seem to love those! I also want to mention that I got to design a poster for Unbreakable Kimmy Scmidt that is officially licensed by the show! It was a couple of years ago and I always forget about it. I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m capable of doing good work!
Q: I love that you seem to be involved with your community, whether it’s designing items for local events or inspired by your home state. Can you tell me a little about that?
A: I started designing Louisiana themed things just to fill a hole. At the time, I didn’t really see any Louisiana stuff that I would actually buy! So I wanted to design things that spoke to a wider audience.
Q: Favorite item in your shop currently?
A: Oof! I don’t know if I can answer that one! Maybe my Not Friendly shirt? I don’t remember what prompted me to come up with that design, but once I posted it everyone loved it and demanded shirts right away!
Q: What goals do you have for your business going forward?
A: My work is currently sold in 3 different stores across Louisiana and my goal is to get my work in more stores. I eventually want to branch out to other states, but it’s going to take me a while to get that all together.
Q: Lastly, let’s spread the love. What are a few of your favorite small shops owned by women that you personally shop from?
A: First obviously, is my BFF Morgan aka The Inkling Girl (@theinklinggirl). She is so incredibly talented it’s unreal.
Cayla Zeek who is another Louisiana artist does amazing work (@matteastudio)
Stephany of Sokay Designs (@sokay_designs)
Ashley of Bone Daddy Pins (@bonedaddypins)
Kaleigh of Paper Moon Collective (@papermooncollective)
Follow along with Daneisha:
Shop Pixel & Ink Creative