Running Down A Dream
UWG Alumnus Making Strides in Atlanta Art SceneShare this page
Darius Emerson ’18 walked into Cartoon Network at 10 years old with nearly identical drawings of beloved cartoon characters and a passion for creation. A simple tour of the facility catalyzed a lifelong dream as he was handed a business card to return when he was older to begin working with the company. As is the nature of a 5th grader, Emerson lost the business card but held steadfast to his dream.
“Growing up, most kids claim they want to be firefighters or doctors, and their aspirations change as they grow older,” said Emerson, an alumnus of the University of West Georgia. “I've known who I was and what I wanted to be since I was little.”
If you asked Emerson what he wanted to be at 10, he would have said he wanted to be the greatest artist in the world. This aspiration required Emerson to adapt to a multitude of mediums and styles that would mold his creations as he grew in age and skill.
“I never wanted to put myself in a box and pushed myself to express my art in many different ways to create something unique,” explained Emerson. “While I loved oil paintings, I had to step out of my comfort zone and begin working with mediums like acrylic that dry faster and allow me to put out pieces as they come to me.”
Emerson showcases his art through his brand, “ArtbyDme.” With a bold, vibrant comic-book style reflected in his pieces, fashion, hip-hop and Black culture inspire his artwork.
“ArtbyDme is my identity,” explained Emerson. “Besides my family, art is the one thing I have that separates me from anyone else. It’s the one thing I wake up and think about daily – my purpose. ArtbyDme has my initials because my art is simply just me. Everyone wants to be successful by doing the things they love, but even if nobody knew me or my name, I would still create art.”
UWG played a crucial role in Emerson’s explorations of style and mediums in his art creations.
“From the first day in the art program, I walked into the Humanities building and knew that was where I was supposed to be,” said Emerson. “My teachers were passionate about molding me and inspiring me to think outside the box. I hadn't even painted when I first started going to UWG.”
Hours spent in UWG’s studios led Emerson to explore his identity in his artwork and the true meaning of the works he was producing.
“These professors taught me how to talk about my work and go deeper past the surface level of my art and put context behind my paintings,” explained Emerson. “They helped me sit down and think about what message I wanted to convey with my pieces.”
The studio at UWG became a second home to Emerson, where he discovered unrelenting support from his teachers and access to a variety of materials that unlocked boundaries that sometimes stifle creation with the expense it takes to acquire varying paints, brushes and artistic supplies.
“Sometimes all I think about is being back in that studio; I never wanted to leave,” said Emerson. “They had so many resources and materials available that I didn’t want to go home.”
Upon graduation, Emerson moved to Atlanta to find a new chapter of creation in his artistic journey. Here, he drew inspiration from other artists and culture in the city.
“Being in Atlanta is inspirational and drives my creative passion through other artists,” said Emerson. “Seeing how they do different things inspires me to reach new levels by honing my skills, and the art culture motivates me to create. If I see something dope, I’m going to learn from it and try to implement it in my art so I can take my work to the next level.”