Daneisha Davis-Harger: Owner, Pixel & Ink
By Brian Pitre
Since its introduction to the world in the early 1980s, graphic design has been a hyper-evolving study with an ever-growing fan base. However, as we descend deeper into the technological age, the study has transcended from solely being in the hands of skilled technicians and into the hands of anyone with an eye for art or entertainment, thus bringing life to the age-old argument of whether or not digital creations should or should not be listed within the ranks of other fine arts.
Many argue that art is art, regardless of medium; to assume art can be defined goes against the very foundation of the art world. Others stand firm in the belief that anyone who can learn the program can create anything the program allows.
One local artist has found her calling somewhere in the gray areas of that argument and has filled it with Pixels & Ink. Attending McNeese State University for a year and later graduating from SOWELA Technical Community College in 2012, Daneisha Davis-Harger entered the professional world with a wealth of artistic and technical knowledge under her belt. Making a living using this knowledge, unfortunately, is no easy task. Daniesha takes a break from the screen for a moment to tell us how she makes it look easy.
Q: You are quite involved in the local art scene, are you originally from the Lake Area?
A: I am! I was born in Lake Charles, grew up in Moss Bluff.
Q: When did you first find an interest in art?
A: The earliest I can remember is third grade. I remember drawing a T-Rex and thinking, “This is really good.” After that, I drew Looney Tunes constantly! I guess back then I thought animation and Illustration were the same thing, so when I started drawing, I quickly switched to animation.
Q: Did you ever expect to turn that into a career?
A: Actually, no. I had always said I wanted to have a career in some kind of science (archaeology, marine biology, geology, or astronomy). I had stopped drawing for several years, and didn’t revisit art until I started focusing on photography while at McNeese. I didn’t start drawing again until around 2011 and it was lousy.
Q: What led you into the field of graphic arts?
A: Well I took some time off in 2004; I knew I wanted to go back to school, but I didn’t know what for, exactly. The only thing I knew for sure is that I didn’t feel like I had the time to go back to McNeese. When I found out that all of my credits would transfer, I decided to go to SOWELA. I honestly cannot remember why I chose graphic arts, but I’m glad I did.
Q: It seem as though you have found your home in graphic arts. Do you feel like it was an easy medium to transition into, or were there many obstacles?
A: Well, I love technology and gadgets, so I think it was super-easy since it already sparked my interest. It works for me because it’s so versatile; my interests are ever evolving, but my medium is flexible. There really isn’t much you can’t do if you just take the time to figure it out.
Q: You clearly have found a style within your medium that boldly presents itself as your artwork. What inspired you to create the style, and do you have a name for it?
A: You know, I’m actually not sure that I have a style! It’s one of those things I tend to struggle with. I feel I should have a style to be recognizable, but I just don’t see it when I look at my work. I really like vibrant colors and vintage/retro things, even when I was younger, so it would make sense that those things would influence my work now. I guess you can call it a style, but no, I don’t have a name for it. I’ll have to think about that one!
Q: How did you come up with the name of your business and how did you get started?
A: I came up with the name Pixel & Ink about two years ago. I had taken a short break from digital work and did a few mixed media pieces with watercolor and pen. I just liked the sound of it. I’m pretty sure my first design client was my Mom! I started doing work for her while I was still in school. Since then I’ve done work for Banners at McNeese, and a few community organizations. Truthfully, most of my design work these days comes from friends I met online in a nail polish group a few years ago!
Q: What do you feel has set you apart from other graphic artists? In other words, what have others told you that they enjoy most about your work?
A: I hear the words “fun” and “cute’” a lot and that’s totally fine with me! I think I’m pretty fun, however, because of my introverted personality, most people don’t know that. I’m glad my work can sort of portray that.
Q: What keeps your drive alive? What makes you want to get up and art each day?
A: Any other time, I would say just knowing that I have to make things. This is my identity. I was an artist before I was anything else. So if I’m not making things, who am I? I feel like if I don’t do it, I’m losing a part of myself. I just don’t want to fail. I keep going; I try to get better at it every day. I feel like I have to validate myself, to prove that being an artist is a legit job and career choice. Frankly, I think it’s one of the best things about me.
Q: If you could offer an aspiring artist any bit of advice what would it be?
A: Don’t quit. I would be so much further along than I am if I would have not quit. I completely understand that life sometimes gets in the way, but if you can help it, just don’t quit. Also, don’t let anyone else have too much influence over what you decide to do. Putting too much stock in other people’s opinions will ruin you.