Demarco Jackson has always had a passion for art and his artistic skill is something that has made his work popular amongst peers. The Michigan State University senior is majoring in studio art with a concentration in painting. He said that art is what he was most talented in as a child.
“I wanted to learn how to perfect my craft in art,” Jackson said. “Watching some of my favorite anime shows like ‘Dragon Ball Z’ and ‘Naruto’ encouraged me to create my own style, and it influenced me to start creating my own language of art and helped me develop more originality.”
As talented and creative as the Kalamazoo, Mich. native was with his hands, doubt still crept into his mind about his abilities.
“When I was transitioning from middle school to high school was when I thought art really wasn’t for me,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t confident in my abilities to possibly sell any of my work. Even if people told me my work was great or amazing, it still wasn’t believable in my eyes so I stopped doing artwork and turned to sports; running track and playing basketball.”
Jackson’s athletic career was cut short due to injuries which prompted him to return to his first passion–art.
“I realized that sports really wasn’t for me so I had to think of something else to turn to,” Jackson said. “That’s when I got back into doing art. I enrolled in AP (Advanced Placement) art around junior year of high school and, in my senior year, decided that I wanted to do [art] as a career when I got to college.”
Jackson enrolled at Michigan State University in the fall of 2015 and started to think about how he could turn his craft into a business.
“Custom shoes and shoe restorations was pretty much the first thing I started off doing,” Jackson said. “I had a business called ‘Wreck That Design’ and the idea behind it was basically taking a design that already existed and completely wrecking it and changing the whole look of the shoe.”
Jackson’s unique shoe designs drew the attention of his peers and word began to spread about his talent, yet he knew he was capable of more.
“As I transitioned into my junior year of college, that summer was the summer that I decided that I was going to get serious about turning this into a legit business,” Jackson said. “I started selling my work for what it was actually worth and stopped the shoe business and got back to selling my paintings and drawings.”
Jackson is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and said that his fraternity brothers helped him to shift his mindset and business in a new direction. He also changed the name of his business to a name he thought was more fitting.
“’Demarco’sMark’ came along the first semester of junior year,” Jackson said. “The idea behind that was taking everything I’ve learned since I was a kid until now and applying it to each one of my pieces so that I can make a mark before I leave Michigan State. That name might change in the future but for now its ‘Demarco’sMark’ because I’m trying to impact everyone around me through my art.”
Jackson has already had a large impact from his work decorating graduation caps for students from various high schools and universities.
“Demarco’s artwork is the best I have ever seen,” Davontae Smith, a recent MSU graduate, said. “The commissioned piece he did for me is amazing and he outdid himself with the graduation cap design he did. He’s been getting requests from all over to do stuff for other people
Jackson’s growth as an artist is a testament to his own drive to be the best version of himself. His work ethic is a product of taking pride in his craft.
“My craft has matured in a different way then others,” Jackson said. “I spent long nights in the studios at Michigan State and started writing down my own personal goals that I was trying to reach by specific deadlines. I would paint every day, all day. Even if it was a couple drawings or a few sketches a day, I worked as hard as I could.”
The doubt that Jackson had to overcome when he was younger no longer has an effect on the artist’s will to take his work to a higher level and elevate his frame of mind.
“I had to stop worrying about if it was going to sell,” Jackson said. “I started worrying about if I liked my own work. I think the most favorite thing about this journey has been hearing how much I have grown as an artist and how much my work impacts everyone around me.”
Adding, “it has been a blessing just looking through everything that I have created over these past couple of years and seeing my own personal growth. I never would have thought I would be shipping my artwork all over the world now and now I am and that’s one of my biggest accomplishments thus far.”
Jackson’s goals for the near future are more than obtainable in his eyes.
“Hopefully, I’ll be making enough money to the point where I can start doing grad caps for free just because its something that I love to do or even painting some custom shoes for a person that has always wanted some, without having to charge them.”
“In the next five years, I see myself painting murals on walls and building my legacy as an artist,” Jackson said. “I’m not trying to be number one, I want to be recognized as the person that I deserve to be recognized as.
“That’s my ultimate goal – to be recognized and acknowledged for my work and giving back in anyway that I can.”