A little about myself…
I have had a love for art since I was young and still learning to hold a pencil. Art for me has always been an escape. A world I create where all the problems of life can't bother me. As someone with anxiety and depression this is my happy place and a way to cope with the mental stress I carry.
I always knew I would grow up and become an artist someday. While in school I took a few art classes and found a passion for cartooning. In high school I won a few awards for some poster designs I made. During my years of being in school I taught myself how to draw over 30 animals. After graduating I started taking commissions, mostly for friends and family. This is when I started realizing this was my career and that I was a true artist. I took a few college courses and ended up dropping out due to anxiety issues, but during all the ups and downs of this time I found my favorite medium: markers.
At the age of 20 I built my first online store using Zazzle. I also created my first children’s book (this book has not been publicly seen yet). I also created a few series and worked on making hand drawn art work in the computer as well as fit products. Around this time is when I really started to develop my art style and building my skills with creating textures. I spent the next 2 years building a large collection of art. I taught myself how to make 15 textures using Sharpies and learned how to draw another 70 plus animals.
At the age of 22 I ended up taking a break from my art, I stopped creating for the purpose of my career and lost a little of my passion. For 2 years I really didn’t create much, this gap is why I tell people my career is 8-10 years. This gap was a hard time for me and I really wasn’t sure I wanted to be an artist anymore. Then when I turned 24 I got back into my art and I had a serious moment of harsh truths with myself. I asked myself do you want to be an artist? Is this really your purpose in life? If you weren’t an artist what would you be? I realized that this what I wanted to do with my life, being an artist is my purpose and passion.
Once I faced my fears and made the decision to not give up, everything changed. I got an amazing day job where I could work on art while at work. I took this opportunity to really try and get my art out in the world. I started to challenge myself, teaching myself new things and forcing myself to grow. At 25 years old I went out of my comfort zone, facing my anxiety head on, and I started to apply for shows. My first big show was 4th Fridays at the Starline Factory in October of 2017. That show lit a fire in my soul. I had found my passion again; I had found myself.
In 2018 I did 2 more shows at the Starline and at the end of the year had over 30 new pieces all created within 2 years, as well as a fully updated selection of art on my Zazzle store. Then came the year everything changed, 2019. I started the year off doing a show with the Starline Factory again, I was comfortable there. I had a simple goal for that year, I wanted to do 6 shows before the end of the year. I really started networking after that. I booked a show in Chicago with RAW: Natural Born Artists and another show at The ArtBar in Aurora. The night of the show in Aurora I walked all over handing out cards looking for more shows. From there I managed to get a show at the Art Initiative. After that things got really crazy; I moved into a house where I had an art studio and started creating non-stop. I was doing 2 or 3 shows a month as well, far surpassing my goal before the year was even half over.
By June of 2019 I had started my own website complete with a store I could run from my studio. At the same time I started my site I created 2 coloring books, a line of color your own post cards, and had 25 art pieces made into prints. I also started writing and illustrating my first comic: Punkin. In July I started creating The Bear Book (I call this my first children’s book because it’s the first one I had published.). The book was self published in November, just before the end of the year. While creating The Bear Book I also started my second comic: SHE-nanigans. 2019 was the year I really felt like I had started to make something of myself, I ended the year with my first job as a professional illustrator, several completed projects, a self published author/illustrator with her own book, and a whopping 25 shows.
As of right now I can create 30 textures with Sharpies, 15 with Prismas, and 5 with Copics. I can draw over 125 different animals and I have found a new love with drawing cartoon food. I am also starting to teach myself to draw people. Every day I learn something new, face my fears, and grow a little more. My career might have started long ago, but it's become so much more than I imagined. I am so grateful to be able to share my passion for art with the world.
2020 story update...
I have continued to grow my career. Covid hit, I managed to still keep my art going and even have done a few shows. I have learned 4 new textures with Sharpies and Prismas, but I am still struggling with Copics. I now have 4 separate series I create that will be ongoing for the next few years. My latest series that I started last year in October, the Art & Music series , has 10 pieces and I have turned the series as a whole into my next giant coloring book. This is the year I finally got into not one, but two galleries (so far), sadly one show was canceled mid show due to the pandemic. Early 2020 brought another major accomplishment with it, I completed my first job as a children's book illustrator. The book is called "Animals at the Office" and is written by Sarah Sommer, to learn more about Sarah and this amazing book scroll to the bottom of the page. This year continued with big things including 2 interviews with a local podcast Good Morning Aurora which gave me a chance to stand up as an advocate for people who battle mental illnesses. I also was one of the artists interviewed and featured during Alley Art Fest, the article was included in the Chicago Tribune. The year is still going and I will keep doing my best to accomplish great things and continue to share my journey.
Past Events & Shows:
1. Starline 4th Fridays October 2017
2. Starline 4th Fridays March 2018
3. Starline 4th Fridays October 2018
4. Starline 4th Fridays January 2019
5. RAW: Natural Born Artists: REFLECT in Chicago February 2019
6. Starline 4th Fridays February 2019
7. 1st Fridays at the The ArtBar: Celebration of Women March 2019
8. Devan's Imagination at the Aurora Arts Initiative March 2019
9. 1st Fridays at The ArtBar: Saturday Morning Cartoons April 2019
10. Spring Monkey Market at Metal Monkey Brewing April 2019
11. 1st Fridays at The ArtBar: Drag Queens & Dragons June 2019
12. Devan Pop-Up at Scallywag Brewing June 2019
13. Starline 4th Fridays June 2019
14. RAW: Natural Born Artists ARISE in Milwaukee July 2019
15. Art by Devan at Limestone Coffee & Tea August 2019
16. Stohlp Block Party at First Fridays August 2019
17. Art on display at "If These Walls Could Talk" for the month of August 2019
18. Alley Art Festival 2019
19. Live drawing with Devan at Limestone Coffee & Tea, August 2019
20. The 132nd Sandwich Fair Professional Showcase 2019 in Sandwich, Illinois
21. Art by Devan Pop-Up at The 132nd Sandwich Fair 2019
22. Art by Devan at Gallery 1904 October 2019
23. Fallapalooza at Lollypalooza & Lolly Too, October 2019
24. 1st Fridays at the The ArtBar: Behold, The Eye Show November 2019
25. 1st Fridays at the The ArtBar: The Punk Show December 2019
26. Holiday Faire at the Starline Factory December 2019
27. Pack the Pantry Art Auction December 2019
28. Month long show Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry with VizoArts December 5th, 2019 to January 8th, 2020
29. 1st Friday's at the ArtBar: Heroes Show January 2020
30. RAW: Natural Born Artists PREMIERE in Chicago February 2020
31. Art by Devan at the Starline March 2020
32. Unforgettable Art: An Affair for Alzheimer s April 2020
33. The ArtBar June 2020 Virtual Show: Rainbow Art Project
34. The Melody of Color solo show at Gary Brown Art Gallery June & July 2020:
opening night during 1st Fridays Virtual Show June 2020
35. The Melody of Color Artist Meet and Greet June 2020
36. Summer Sizzling Art & Music July 2020
37. 1st Fridays Beyond the Walls at Gallery 1904 August 2020
38. Alley Art Fest August 2020
39. The ArtBar October 2020 Virtual Show: This is Halloween
40. Starline Factory Outdoor Artesian Market October 2020
41. Dryad's Artesian Market at Rabid Brewing October 2020
Born Learning Trail at Lion's Park in DeKalb, 2019
Sugar Skull City Project in Aurora, 2020
Sarah Sommer hired me in late November 2019, by April 2020 I had fully illustrated her book.
Animals at the Office is a one of a kind children's picture book about Gator's first day at the office. As you read the book you meet his quirky friends who help him on his journey of self acceptance. Sarah's writing style is full of rhymes and has a lyrical quality to it that comes from her time as a professional musician. To learn more about Sarah and find out where you can purchase Animals at the Office visit sarahsommer.com.