Local artist Donkee Boy contributed arguably the dopest part of Madness on Main: a full-length mural of Houston rapper Chingo Bling.

Houston art is not synonymous with graffiti. However, people often equate the two simply because of the ubiquity of quality graffiti in Houston. Donkee Boy breaks that mold by using more traditional paint, painting styles, and screenprinting. A typical artist in every other way – hands perpetually covered in paint, intense eyes, unbuttoned overshirt on top of a t-shirt and jeans that are also splattered in various colors of paint – Donkee Boy’s appearance is completely unassuming and never leads on to the magnificent, masterpiece-creating mind under his hat.

Donkee Boy’s latest contribution to the city’s landscape is a mural of Houston rapper Chingo Bling on the side of Raven Tower. The artist debuted the mural for Madness on Main, and I got to ask him a few questions about this piece, his other pieces, and how he contributes to Houston popular culture.

HC: How did you get involved with Madness on Main?

DB: Marissa (Saenz of Pure Peach Marketing) is the homie, and she reached out and said, “Hey you wanna do something?” and I already had something planned with Chingo Bling. So I was like, “Ya know what? Yeah, let’s do this!” It was just perfect timing, I guess.

HC: So you did a mural of Chingo Bling. That’s super Houston.

DB: (laughs) Yeah I know, I try to do that whenever I can. If the opportunity presents itself, I’m definitely gonna rep where I’m from. You got to, ya know?

HC: I hear you. What part of Houston are you from?

DB: Uh, like, Southeast Houston, kinda like in the middle…Pasadena but not Pasadena…

HC: I’m still stuck on this, though…Chingo? You just felt like drawing Chingo Bling?

DB: Nah, I’m a fan of his and we’re homies now, and we had been talking about doing something for a while, but getting a wall is hard – sometimes people don’t let you do what you wanna do. Like I said, Marissa presented this opportunity and I asked her, “Is it OK if I do this and he can come out here?” She agreed to it and since we already had plans and she had the space for it, that was it.

HC: Describe for me your style of art. Where do you get inspiration from?

DB: First off, my mom is an artist. I watched her for a long time. As a young kid, me and my friends would cap on each other. We were always ranking on each other so you had to be quick, you had to be funny, and I think that’s where I get all my puns and all the play-on-words that I do with my art. It’s pop art – I guess, an urban type of pop art but mixed with double entendres. I’m really big on the titles of my work. I’m a big hip hop fan and lyrics are the…shit. Can I cuss?

HC: Keep it real, man. Who are other artistic influences beside your mom?

DB: Keith Haring, Basquiat, Dalí…all the big ones, but also some who are not as well-known, you know? Some of the local artists here, like Dual, Gonzo (GONZO247)…but they’re known here, of course. Color (Colors Oner), he’s like (smiles)…to me, when I was in high school I would look up to his stuff a lot. I’m not a graffiti writer but his stuff was just super clean and I try to be as clean as I can with my work. I love lines. I love hard lines so like, you know, when he was able to do it with a can, I was like, “That’s crazy! I should be able to do that with a brush!” Andy Warhol is a big one, just because of the way he branded himself. As an artist, you go through that struggle, I think. You’re like, “OK I’ll do a painting. They’re not selling. Now what?” To be able to keep producing is tough. It’s kind of frowned upon in certain scenes to re-create your work, but I feel like if I made it, and I created this, I own it. I can make it into whatever I want. I want this to live on, I don’t want this to die. So that’s my whole thing. Keith Haring did that. Andy Warhol did that. A bunch of people did that but those are the two main ones for me. This could be a shirt; this could be a hat, a pin, whatever. I’m just trying to spread what I created and if people gravitate toward it, I should be able to re-create it.

HC: What’s your goal with your art? What would be your “Art Grammy’s?”

DB: For me? To get my own museum. That’s it. I don’t know what you could do bigger than that in the art world.

HC: Creating art is expensive, man. Is this your only job?

DB: My mom and I started a screenprinting business. That funds everything else. Paints are expensive. Materials are very expensive depending on what you’re trying to use. Sometimes you can pimp something out, you can find something on the street and make it look cool, but sometimes you can’t. Certain collectors are asking for certain things. Some of these frames cost $500 to $1000, so imagine if you’re gonna frame everything and that’s the price you’re paying for it. Where are you gonna get that money from? You’re spending most of your time trying to be creative and as an artist, it gets hard. So that was the answer for us. We get to be creative and we get to call the shots. We’re creative and it pays the bills to where we’re not having to do certain things or take on jobs that we don’t wanna do. I do all the stuff for 8th Wonder Brewery, I do some stuff for Shipley’s Do-Nuts, Nobi…We’re definitely more on the creative side. We try to be. If we can’t be creative, we’re probably not gonna work.

Check out the Chingo Bling mural at Raven Tower when you get a chance, and make sure to hit Donkee Boy’s site at www.donkeeboy.com for some super dope merch.

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