Today we’d like to introduce you to DINKC.
So, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story begins like most children of Mexican parents who immigrated to the US for a better life.
My older sister and brother brought over at a young age and then having my other brother and myself as my parents began to settle. Working jobs they didn’t necessarily want to but had to in order to make a living in Kansas City. – “The Hustle”
It was a tough life for them, but they never really let us see that. As tired as our parents were, they always made time for us. I know my older siblings struggled to adjust at first to the new culture, but eventually, they were successful. We Learned Spanish at home in order to communicate with our parents but spoke English at school in order to blend in. It was a system we surely stuck too, but at times maybe struggled with. The balance, the home, the school, culture, society, love, hate. We took it all in, no choice. – “The Adjustment”
As I grew, I took it all in. My past and lived it in the present. Not necessarily knowing what my future would hold. I wanted to learn from my parent’s hustle, adjust as my siblings did, and create the unknown. Of course, in the meantime, I went the sports route and pursued soccer my entire life through high school as a fun thing to do, but something I noticed was that on the side I was always drawing either at home, school, park, car, anywhere really! I absolutely loved it and I knew in my heart, this was something I couldn’t ignore. – “The Decision”
Of course at first, it was just me drawing my favorite cartoons (Like Mickey Mouse, Dragon Ball Z, Animaniacs, and Speedy Gonzalez, just to name a few) I was just trying to get them as accurate as I could in order to show them off at school. Yet, that was never enough. I wanted to grow, learn, do, and make as much as I possibly could. So I started signing up for art classes in and out of school in order to feed that hunger. Learning about various artists, mediums, styles, techniques, and applications. I carried this through all of my schooling up until graduating from The Kansas City Art Institute with a bachelor’s in Illustration. – “The Education”
Yet, one of my all-time favorite genres of art was always public. Whether that be graffiti, murals, live painting, performance, etc.. I always loved seeing things live, but also it existing in a space after the performance. I guess I got addicted to scouting out street murals when I was young, being that look out for my older friends as they tagged and showed me the ropes/culture. Then also being able to experience art in a gallery setting as well during First Fridays. It was free and created as the artist saw fit. It reminded me of the balance I was always looking for. Within my cultures, language, society, school, and future. There were options, art was and is never just one thing. I could express myself as openly as I could imagine and build my own version of it. No one could tell me it was wrong, because it was mine. Me, and only me. To do as I please, and create the world I imagined in my dreams. – “The Inspiration”
So, I already had the ingredients. “The Hustle”, The Adjustment”, “The Decision”, The Education”, “The Inspiration” and now I just had to add “The Creation” And thus, my journey began. The search for my voice within my artistic growth. Which led to me starting “THE DINKC BRAND” in 2012, and seeing where it’ll take me. I pride myself in being an Illustrative Designer, and with the development of my one custom skull character, I was headed in the right direction with all the meaning I needed. It’s gotten me this far, so far. Yet, I still see some ways to go.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t necessarily believe in smooth roads, Just like my mom said: “Work is so bad, they pay you to do it!” Everything in life that’s worth doing requires proper attention, work, struggle, failure, success, determination, and growth. It’s never just a smooth road. Just depends on how bad you want/need it, that’ll push you forward. In my eyes, a smooth road is simply not even starting, comfort, or quitting.
Once I began my brand in 2012 while still at The Kansas City Art Institute, I definitely struggled. Trying to figure out my next move after graduation, how to apply what I’ve learned, what my clientele/market could be, and how to offer services that could in on way or another make a living to survive. I still wanted to build my brand/character in the art scene but needed money to do so. So, I started offering graphic design, branding, and illustrative services. I helped out new clients who couldn’t necessarily go to big-name advertising agencies. Kept it local in Kansas City. Worked, built, consulted, and maintained a good client base. I learned on the job while helping those new businesses grow. I figured out how they ran things that I didn’t necessarily know, but learned to apply it to what I needed for myself.
At the same time, I was working on “The DINKC Brand” Finding my voice as I said before. But, I didn’t have the full experience to land the big galleries/jobs I necessarily wanted. So, I had to learn to humble myself and work with existing artists/galleries in the industry. Assisting, making, handling, gallery set up, groundwork, emails, flyers, promotions, finding sponsors, any little thing I could possibly learn from anyone I did. This helped me figure out my path and know exactly what it takes to build a brand and do it correctly.
I just had to apply my own personal artwork, background, culture, voice, meaning, style, and purpose to it. Or else, it wouldn’t succeed. Because without meaning, why even do it. I found my meaning and a way to merge all my influences into 1 thing. An icon, staple, or symbol if you will. My skull character. He brought everything full circle and full steam ahead in order for me to create exactly what I imagined my brand/company to be. It’s an ever-learning/growing experience.
Take it one step at a time and move forward always.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
DINKC as an artist, character, brand, company.
Once I felt I laid the groundwork by being as involved, networking and contributing to the art community. I started pushing myself to create my own original content. I created a logo, cards, branding, built my website, and worked as much as I could.
In my development, I decided to focus on the things I loved doing. So I first and foremost specializing in ILLUSTRATIVE DESIGN. My services expand into- canvas, murals, customs, commissions, toys, apparel, merchandise, consulting, and show curation. In a sense, every little thing that I’ve gone through and taken the time to learn, I applied to my practice. I am not just one person specializing in one thing, I am a brand offering all the services I love to do. Through my skull character, I’m able to expand into those various realms while maintaining a consistent style. I don’t want to blend in, I want people to see my work and instantly recognize it as MINE. I am most proud of not limiting myself but pushing boundaries to overcome obstacles and help my fellow creatives do the same.
I moved my practice out to New York and stayed in Bushwick, BK for close to three years to expand and build my work. I learned a lot about variation and growth of the art scene, painting murals, group shows, and live events. I then moved to Denver, CO in March 2017 and hit the ground running. I showcased at as many galleries as I could, painted for Crush three years, built up my clientele, networked in the community, showcased for Denver Fashion Week, painted at Grandoozy, started my own clothing line, and created/curated my own events. This isn’t a brag, it’s a checklist. So far, I’ve hit every single goal I’ve set out to conquer.
DINKC as the artist created the character and style. DINKC as the brand expands into all of my work and merchandise. DINKC as the company expands into consulting/curation of events and other creatives/spaces. I embody it all, and it’s only the beginning.
Of course, I know I still have a lot to learn, but I also know I’m willing to keep moving forward. No matter what. This isn’t just a career, this is my entire life. Without it, I have no purpose. I am just fortunate enough to be able to pursue my passion, in hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I’d have to say, my family.
They were always there throughout my entire life. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, close friends, neighbors, etc. We had a very tight community of people that would support and simply show up. That means a lot when you’re growing up. No matter if it was a birthday, wedding, quinceañera, talent show, bbq, sports game, art show, or funeral.
This community was always there. It definitely meant a lot during November for Dia de Los Muertos. I’d have to say that is one of my fondest memories. Growing up my parents taught me all about our Mexican culture/traditions. We would go to Mexico every summer as soon as school let out, so we can see our living family and learn about our roots. But, in November- Day of the Dead was a time to mourn through celebration and remembering those who have passed. We would set up the altar, full of personal favorite items. We would place their photos, learn about them, tell stories, eat their favorite food, play their songs, and simply remember who they were and what they taught us. My favorite item was the beautiful sugar skulls which my mom would let me decorate. It would say the family members name and I would customize them with colorful icing. Making something for those who are no longer with us but with my own artistic style. It meant the world to me and I have to say that is one of my biggest influences when it comes to my work.
My skull character is a mix of my past, Dia de Los Muertos, culture, cartoons, graffiti/murals, illustration, design, subtle boldness, art, and everything that makes me who I am. I wanted to find a simplified version of me. That’ll tell my story once I’m gone(Just like an alter) I wanted everything in my work to have meaning.
For those who don’t know, My name is Laedan Galicia. My name was composed in the hospital before my mom gave girth to me. My parents decided to dedicate my name to family members who have passed. By using their first two letters. (LA-Lalo • ED- Edith • AN-Antonio) I am an artist born into death. That’s why I created DINKC. An acronym for (Death Is Not Knowing Certainty). Yet, it’s the only certain thing we have in life.
I’m a subtle reminder of death, but more importantly, my work is a bold reminder to live.
“These are my leave-behinds, these are my skulls” -DINKC.
- Website: WWW.DINKC.COM
- Email: Lg@dinkc.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dinkc/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dinkcstudios/?ref=bookmarks