Evan Brown refuses to draw out his accomplishments — or even the failures behind them — as he paints the career of a budding illustrator and muralist, he said.
“I don’t really dwell. … That might be the reason I’ve been getting more and more projects within the past year,” said Brown, KC-based maker and founder of Doodle Dood. “It’s definitely a plus and a minus because I never really spend time patting myself on the back, but I’m always kind of staying on the tip of my toes.”
A commissioned mural on the side of a former shipping container at the soon-to-open Iron District in North Kansas City, for example, was plagued by late-summer heat, he recalled as he outlined a Doodle Dood-styled skyline on its metal canvas. As the south-facing container absorbed rays from the sun, the resulting heat slowed his progress, but Brown worked long hours to paint and repaint the mural to his satisfaction, he said.
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Despite its creative origins, Brown’s work is driven by a love of the business of art, he said.
“I’m honestly more of an entrepreneurially-minded person than I am an artist — I have that Type A personality and I like to plan everything out beforehand,” he said. “That creative element of being an artist, I think, has allowed me to be more creative in my marketing and in the way I run my business than perhaps other business owners.”
“I’ve probably studied business more than people who are in business school,” he joked, noting that he enjoys listening to podcasts on social media marketing while painting.
This dual focus allows for freedom in the way Doodle Dood is structured and eliminates the need to outsource creative work, even as Brown balances increased artistic demands with limited capacity and the in-and-outs of his business, he said.
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Doodle Dood began in 2016 with Brown sharing daily drawings on social media — gradually building an audience that supported his work and requested more and more commissions over time, he added.
Having studied illustration at the University of Kansas, Brown originally set out to create a children’s book, but found himself experimenting across a range of mediums to finally land on a focus for mural work and community art, amongst other pastimes, he added.
“I think the vast majority of what I want to do is like galleries, art fairs… that kind of thing, but I also do apparel, paintings, stickers, and community work,” he said.
“Right now, I’m starting to see a lot of word-of-mouth, which is my favorite part because it requires the least amount of effort,” Brown added, laughing.
His mural work gains the most visibility, he added, noting projects at the Iron District, as well as Parlor in the Crossroads, get traction through social media leading to an uptick in commission-oriented work.
Brown’s murals achieve an organic feel despite the laborious and large-scale work, he said.
“I never sketch anything out or pre-plan or use a projector or anything like that,” Brown said. “I give [the clients] an idea of what they’re going to get and tell them, “Let me do my thing.”
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