Duane Doku Defies Expectations

Duane Doku Defies Expectations

Photo courtesy of Duane Doku

“I’m pushing the societal norm to reconsider what is dope.” 

Duane Doku is a creative artist born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with a degree in fine arts. He’s been drawing since he was 3 years old. “My craft consists of concept design, illustration, product development as well as branding,” he says. “My main influences are Michelangelo, Daniel Sprick, and Kanye West.”

Marvin Gaye –  Illustrative Piece for Utmost Co.

Exhibit C

He is currently working on an apparel design/brand called The Sad Boy Saga, based in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a “fashion platform for mental health awareness.” “This is one of the avenues of my craft that I considered to be loud, experimental, and just ‘me,’” Duane says. “The concept and drive behind the brand itself is creating a fresh feel to streetwear and fashion in its entirety and pushes societal norms to reconsider what is dope.”

Along with creating for himself, Duane is the art director for The Spot, a multi-purpose creative studio, located in the Arts District of Richmond, Virginia. He finds the creative community to be supportive and collaborative. “I appreciate the cohesive and diverse culture circulating the city,” Duane says. “You can tell there’s a strong sense of unity down here.”

(From left) Models are wearing the following apparel/brands: The Spot RVA’s Original Players Sade Tee, Selah Studios/Art by Doku’s Erykah Badu hoodie, [inser name]’s Black Queen’s Tee, The Spot RVA’s Black Original Players Sade Tee. Photo by Creative Beauty Photography.

Model wearing The Sad Boy Saga Forbidden Feelings hoodie. Photo by Atlanta Streetwear Market.

Giving back to the community is important to Duane. He was a program lead at ART 180, a Richmond-based nonprofit that provides a space for youth to find their voices through creativity. After his participation with ART 180, Duane has continued to mentor youth and participates in community service of his own. “My work with ART 180 was an absolute blessing,” he says. “The organization not only opened countless doors for me but also gave me the opportunity to engage and guide the youth through the various forms of community service and outreach and provide forms of self-advocacy for temperament and communication through art. I’m grateful to have met some amazing people along the way.” 

To learn more about Duane Doku, follow him on Instagram.