BY TIFFANY JOHNSON
Bright and bold colors that evoke emotion and a feeling of empowerment are what you see when a Dooga Art painting graces your home or your screen. His artwork makes you feel. Makes you feel seen. Makes you feel happy. For many, it makes them feel beautiful and visible in a world that doesn't always acknowledge their beauty or presence. Dwayne Royall, 33, known as Dooga, paints with purpose as highlighting and uplifting black people is where his art originated.
“That's why I do a lot of bright colors, and make a lot of things really vivid to show the brightness and uniqueness of who we are,” said Royall.
Much like his inspiration Jean-Michel Basquiat, who felt “black people are never really portrayed realistically, or not even portrayed in modern art enough,” Dwayne is changing that narrative. He paints to shine a positive light on black people and who we are and to debunk the typical negative stereotypes. “We're just normal people, and I like to show that and show the beauty of our skin and who we are.”
The UNCC graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) has a particular interest in uplifting women. He paints with boldness to show the fine details that make up our features, from dreadlocks to short hair to natural hair. Any black person can look at his artwork and feel empowered, especially a black woman. Which is exactly how the artist hopes people feel as he expressed, “I want people to see a reflection of themselves in my art.”
While portraits are his favorite type of painting to create, he has quickly grown a strong affinity towards abstract paintings because they can be freeing and it's an opportunity to paint without intention. Royall, who started painting a little over 4 years ago through the encouragement of a friend, has established a strong following for himself with nearly 70k followers on Instagram, and a smoothly run website that features and sells his artwork.
In 2017, Dwayne left his job and bet on himself to become a full-time artist. His entrepreneurial spirit, thought process, and professionalism are inspiring and comforting. Not even 5 years into painting, and he paints with so much depth and detail. He paints all the time and believes, “anything that you put enough hours into and dedicate yourself to you’re going to definitely see that improvement quickly. It doesn't have to be art. It can be anything that you do.” A strong reminder of the power of consistency.
Dwayne is a breath of fresh air. He’s not in competition with anyone. He’s in his own lane, and draws motivation and encouragement from his peers and the good art community through social media. He believes, “There is enough room for everybody and everybody's talent is different. It's unique.”
He wants to see everyone grow and succeed. In fact, that played a role in the development of his YouTube channel where he provides mentorship through tutorials to fellow artists, and anyone interested, for free. “I just want to see people succeed. I want to see people grow and do their thing, and I'm not going to hold them back because they can’t pay a $50 dollar class.” His mindset, talent, and kind nature will take him far as this is just the beginning of something incredibly special.
What's next for Dwayne? The soon-to-be father hopes to have a solo art show and to have his work featured in galleries. Eventually, he'd love to get to the point where he's able to create paintings for different art shows across the country, and beyond!
While his commissions are currently closed until July 2020, he has plenty of quality artwork that is sold through his website, which will run a 35% off promotion with use of the code 35OFF until mid-May.
The world is going through tough times due to COVID-19, and Dooga Art provides a bright spot that can brighten your mood and enhance your home. If you're able, consider supporting this astonishingly talented small business owner. You won't be disappointed!
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