art / artist / culture / Local Love / sacramento / Words.

What I’m Listening To: Desaree Deckard

What I’m Listening To is a series where we talk to exciting artists, musicians, and community members and get a five-song slice of their current playlist.

“I was always the one kid during class projects who would draw out everything on grocery store… poster boards.”

 

Desaree Deckard’s earliest memory is of making art. “I distinctly remember glitter letters, the ones you achieve by sprinkling the glittery pieces of plastic on glue drawn designs,” says the designer, founder of #ArtOfTheDaySac and Duckee’s Drawings & Designs, and this month’s WILT playlist curator. Deckard has loved music almost as long as she loved art. “My mother and father raised me with a good ear, … mainly hip-hop, rap, Motown, old school cuts, and even slow jamz when it was time for bed, provided by Mix 96 back in the day.”

 

When she was young, her step-father was a rapper involved in the Sacramento music scene who went by the name Dubl M, and was part of the group Darkside. He had a local hit that got played on the radio called “Anotha Summer Day,” which Deckard still has an LP of. When she was ten or eleven, she would listen to his instrumentals on her cassette player when she wanted to think. She would also use the tapes to riff herself. “With two other brothers we would go back in forth between rhymes, battling each other, seeing who had the bars. Those were some good times.”

 

Her biological father, a singer, was in and out of her life until she was nineteen and began living with him. “Listening to him sing on extremely rare occasions gave me the motivation to sing. With the ability to come up with lines off the dome by rapping with my brothers, my deep soulful voice inspired by Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Jill Scott came into existence. Singing was not only easy, but it felt good.”

Though she’s done a lot in the world of visual art, Deckard has yet to join a band or otherwise formalize her love of music. But that might change. “I’ve sung at some open mics sporadically, but I’ve never really invested much time into it. I’ve been freestyling so long, I’m just now getting into developing the structure of a song. It’s difficult. As far as the content goes. I have a few songs memorized now, which I’m ‘planning’ to release next year. So we’ll see how that goes.”

 

Meanwhile, she has been quite active in the online world of art, most notably in founding Art Of The Day Sacramento. The idea came into existence just after Deckard had gotten into graffiti art and had been posting pictures of vibrant murals on Instagram. “After an influx of people asking where the mural or graffiti spot was located, I began thinking, how many people wonder the same thing, but for Sacramento’s growing art scene?” She based the name on the popular Instagram hastag #ArtOfTheDay but since she was planning to keep it local to the Sacramento area, she added Sac to the hashtag to differentiate it.

 

 

Today, Art Of The Day Sacramento is primarily run by Deckard with the help of a “few talented individuals here and there.” While she is looking to add more permanent members to the team, she wants to set up a solid foundation and infrastructure before taking anyone else on board. “Only because I would like to keep the workflow with Art Of The Day Sac as organized as possible! Not for me, but for the people I hope to be working with.”

 

The hashtag has 22,000+ and Deckard finds artists to feature on the organization’s social media platform through it as well as word of mouth and local publications. She doesn’t pick favorites, either. “Every artist in this city deserves equity when getting highlighted on Art Of The Day Sacramento. Artists are chosen based on skill and content. Nothing more and nothing less!”

 

On top of running Art Of The Day Sacramento, Deckard also runs Duckee’s Drawings & Designs, which started out as a personal project. It has since turned brought her professional freelance work from local businesses after Deckard took design classes at Sacramento City College and posted her portfolio online. “After posting what I designed for my class portfolio, paired with my marketing savviness … when it came to developing newsletters, managing social media accounts, for my own audience, people began seeking out my work.”

 

The name Duckee was an old childhood nickname from her school days. “Duckee came from my infamous, walk which all began on my toes. My friend from high school, Stefany, … said I look like a duck and from there…my name has been Duckee.”

 

When not designing for others, Deckard’s personal work is mostly focused on paintings and drawings, though she is searching for a medium that is “her.” She cites manga and Afrofuturism as influences for her developing style. “The goal of my art is to take daily life instances and add emphasis with …fantasy [and] spiritualism.”

 

So how does Deckard balance all of this along with a full-time day job? She laughs, “This is the one question that took the longest to answer! I’ve never really thought about my process of maintaining all of this until now.” But she has some tips for others looking to do the same.

 

First, she says, is to have fun. “The reason I’m able to balance all of these roles well, is because I enjoy it. Wholeheartedly, I love what I do and that gives me the motivation to work day in and day out. If I hated working on this, nothing would ever get accomplished.”

 

Second, learn self-discipline. “While motivation is a powerful asset to any aspiring artist, entrepreneur, or mogul, discipline manages all the emotions that come with our insane work drive.”

 

Finally, organize your work schedule, every day. “I’m very proactive when it comes to the to-do lists and planning out my schedule weekly. Which I structure according to the venture. A to-do list for Art Of The Day Sacramento, another for Duckee’s Drawings & Designs, and of course needs of my daily life (household necessities, hospital visits, therapy, maintaining a social life, traveling, etc.).” At her day job, she goes to work and try to make “the best use of my 15-minute breaks and 45-minute lunches to follow up on calls, respond to emails, and the like.”

So what is artist, designer, and Art of The Day Sacramento founder Desaree Deckard listening to?

Curren$y-‘Presidents’-“This was so hard to do! Just five? C’mon…but not even thinking about [it this song] just flew into my head. The chorus goes:

‘Some of my people gotta hustle just to pay the rent,

Some of us not in the position that we say we in

Can’t have no bill collectors coming to my residence

That’s why everyday I be running for them presidents’

Why I enjoy this song so much should be self-explanatory, but if not, it pretty much explains the struggle I believe every person in the freelance or self-made world can resonate with. That’s why everyday we be running for them presidents.”

 

N.E.R.D-‘ESP’-“Another one of my favorite songs. The return of N.E.R.D was something, I’d been waiting for sometime since their last album Nothing from way back in 2010. This song talks about energy specifically and the difference between those who choose to use that energy and those who don’t. The chorus goes:

‘You got energy, but you ain’t gonna use it

You got so much time, but you ain’t gonna use it

You got so much space, but you ain’t gonna use it

You got a great big mind, but you ain’t gonna use it

We got this energy, but you ain’t gonna use it

You got so much light, but you ain’t gonna use it

You got such good taste, but you ain’t tryna use it

Other side to your brain, but you ain’t tryna use it

You got an extra eye, but you ain’t tryna use it

Remember what you find ’cause we’re finna lose it’

I recommend this song to everyone to listen to while reading along with the lyrics. I can’t explain how much I LOVE this jam, but don’t take my word for it.”

 

The Carters-‘BOSS’-“I’ve never really listened to Beyonce regularly, but after watching the video for ‘APESHIT.’ I started listening. The joint album performed with her bae, Sean Carter, gave me an insight into their lifestyle. Along with goals to strive for. The song starts off with:

‘Ain’t nothing to it, real one

Ain’t nothing to it, boss

Ain’t nothing to it (nothin’ to it), real one

Ain’t nothing to it (there’s nothing), boss’

My favorite part of this song is when Beyonce sings, ‘You ain’t talking about nothing, I ain’t got no time, Got that dinero on my mind,'” Deckard laughs, “To all the bosses or leaders out there! We know what’s good.”

 

Lil Skies-‘Red Roses (feat Landon Cube)’-“Early this year I was going through some things. This song motivated me and gave me some game to play with. The part that got me into his music was hearing these lyrics:

‘You know I got a cold heart

If I would give it to you, would you tear that shit apart

Red roses on my grave, bury me with art

And with some Backwoods and a lighter just so I could spark

Midnight rider, never put the car in park

I’m shining bright just like a light ’cause I came from the dark’

That last line is everything for me and is pretty much everything about me. It spoke to me at a point where I was so low too. I’m thankful for Skies sharing his music with the world.”

TOKiMONSTA-‘Gamble’-“A bump or a beat that has a cool jazzy hip-hop vibe. I like it because it reminds me about life. Everything, every single person, the choices they make, it’s all a gamble. Nothing is promised today or tomorrow, but the hope that it will work is what keeps us going.”

 

Erykah Badu-‘On & On’-“Last but not least, [this song] is one song that I can recite word for word. She is my queen I swear. Watching her interviews and listening to her music is a wonderful experience. She truly does have a dope soul. My favorite part of the song is:

‘Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learn,

If your knowledge were your wealth then it will be well earn’

This part of the song makes me turn to myself. Going through the stages in my life, I always look at what I knew at the time, and what I know now. Learning is an essential skill when it comes to this thing we call life. My life changed immensely when I started paying attention to what I was learning.”

These days, Art of the Day Sacramento is working to partner with local art-related events and stores to help further their market reach to our global audience around the world. The hashtag has over 7,500 followers across various platforms and has reached cities across the country and beyond, including places like India, Europe, and Brazil. Although nothing is set in stone yet, Deckard says, art shows will coming further down the line once everything is established.

Desaree Deckard and her work are on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Find #ArtoftheDaySac on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Words: Katta Hules. Images courtesy of the Desaree Deckard.

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