Don Mega Art is a self-taught artist and lifelong Chicagoan. He does a lot of creating with spray paint and paint markers. Don has been commissioned to create at music festivals like Mamby On The Beach and North Coast. He’s even curated for a Grassroots event that included almost 40 artists.
Ben: Before we get into questions, can you give readers a brief introduction of yourself?
Don: Alright. I am a self-taught artist and a lifelong Chicagoan. I’ve been lucky enough to create for music fests, commercial venues, Chicago galleries, and several private commissions. There is a lot of variety in my work, since a bunch of it is based on requests from customers and friends. I take a lot of pride in creating clean lines. I would say most of my inspiration comes from vintage stuff, cartoons, 90s culture, and a wide spectrum of music.
Ben: When and how did you discover your passion for creating?
Don: When I was a child, there used to be a small set of woods behind my apartment before it was turned into the convention center. Every year a few buildings would get new balconies and they would dump all the old wood at the dead end in the complex by the forest. My friends and I would drag that wood all over the forest and build bridges, dozens of tree houses, and walk ways to connect it all. We basically built a series of forts that connected throughout the tops of trees.
More importantly, I started drawing at a young age; which transferred that creating into visual art. I’ve always been a doodler, which my friends really encouraged. They would always have cool requests and I made most of their gifts for years.
Ben: Can you dive into the process of creating a piece? What materials do you use and what is the process like?
Don: My process is mostly thinking, I sketch something to plan a little, but it depends on the piece or project. I like to spitball with the people around me, mostly the ones that don’t do art. They have good ideas and don’t even know it. 98% of my friends don’t do art. I’ll spend some time looking for references if I don’t have them on hand.
In terms of materials, I mostly use spray paint and paint markers. But I will use whatever works best for the surface that I have. I like to try all mediums, but I tend to do a lot of work with spray paint and paint markers. That’s definitely where I have the most experience and comfort.
Ben: When did you start being commissioned for festivals like Mamby On The Beach?
Don: Hmm…the first fest I did was North Coast. I started getting commissions for music fests and other larger things about three years ago.
Ben: What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Don: I guess this would be a two part answer. First, Grassroots California’s Chicago location allowed me to take over their gallery space and curate a one-year anniversary show. I had come up with an idea and presented it to them. They loved it and I was able to invite about 40 artists I enjoy and would be a good fit with their clientele. Amuse.126, Merlot, Chris Dyer, Junkyard, and JC Rivera to name a few. It was amazing getting to work with so many artists and a company like Grassroots. I’m looking forward to curating again in the future. As far as my favorite project outside of curating…. I really had a good time making my You Are Beautiful billboard for their annual exhibit at Galerie F in Chicago. I enjoyed the format the most. I like to work on nontraditional surfaces.
Ben: Do you have a dream project? I’d love to hear about it if you have one!
Don: It’s more dream projects, and that is getting as many walls to paint murals outside of my city as possible.
Ben: What is something you want to happen in the next 2 years and how do you plan to make it happen?
Don: My goals are more focused on curating other art events and helping other artists grow. I plan to just keep being out there - meeting people, going to art events, and waiting for the right opportunities. Of course, I will still be creating art while focusing on these goals.
Ben: What advice would you give to someone following their passion?
Don: Practice. Every single day, even when it looks like garbage, even if it looks like garbage until the last second. Even if you are unmotivated to do it. Stay away from putting down half finished projects – avoid that, keep at them. Also, if you like someone’s art or feel inspired by them and you want to talk to them or ask them questions, message them.
Don Mega Art has a very unique style and passion for creating. In the past three years, he’s tapped into the music festival scene and created amazing things there. I was able to witness him creating at Mamby On The Beach and I was blown away. Keep up with him via social media @don.mega.art.