DeChazier P. Stokes-Johnson

art director, designer, journalist, thinker
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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How did you become a designer/artist?

Without giving you a long drawn out story of my life and blab on about how I knew I was going to be involved in some career that heavily relied on creative talents, I’ll just say I was blessed with a creative mind and spirit and was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do at an early age. Knowing this allowed me to make steps and attend schools and a college that would prepare me for a design career.

What are you doing now?

I currently work as an art director at Nonbox, which is an advertising agency located in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. I also own and operate, which is a hub for all things that make up who I am. Interviews, freelance projects and side jobs, personal work, the list goes on and on. Between doing these two things and being a husband to my wife and a father to my son, my time is filled.

Where areyou from originally?

I am from and was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for a nice portion of my life as well. It was one of the best experiences in my life living there. It exposed me to so much that I would have never otherwise been exposed to. I like Milwaukee but I would like to move and live in a few different places before I’m gone.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are to raise a nice-sized family. Enjoy them and work hard. I really never want to be lazy; I always want to be doing something. Professionally I want to learn a lot more about the business side of things, I want to grow Black-Marmalade to be a well-known and respected brand as well as do the same for, a new start-up company I am working on with my friend David Deusner. Don’t want to give too much away on that quite yet though. Ultimately, if I do good work, meet amazing people, and keep the bond I have with my wife, son, and ‘other as of yet unborn children’ I will be a happy man.

What American artist inspires you most?

There are many people that inspire me. Not just artists, but I’d have to say Jean Michel Basquiat. Not necessarily because of the work he did, although I do like much of it, but because of who he seemed to be and what he seemed to have wanted.

What unlocks your creativity?

This is a very hard one. But after thought, I think seeing art or design my ‘peers’ have made. It unlocks something inside of me, a fiery passion to want to make and be a part of them, be linked. The idea of respect also unlocks creativity. It’s all about things that fuel or push me in some way really, more than what unlocks my creativity.