Designing Your Voice
Artist Brian Young Breathes Life into His Art and Motivates the Next Generation to Take Charge Designing Your Voice
Artist Brian Young Breathes Life into His Art and Motivates the Next Generation to Take Charge
By Raoul Dennis and Cecil Merkerson
Creating something unique and special as an artist is a passion that very few ever get to experience. But, at an early age designer, Brian Young discovered his talents and later used them to make a career for himself -- and more importantly --- a name among black-owned media and activist groups on a national level.
Young, a Washington D.C.-based designer for over twenty years, got his start as a hobby with his older cousin putting up flyers around his neighborhood.
He built upon that as the years passed when in high school doing work for the black student union and their events.
Young wanted to build upon this skill and passion growing up. He began to believe art and being an artist was his calling.
“I took an art class in high school and won an art award. It was just button. But it was a big deal to me,” Young says. “I knew that I wanted to be an artist, as time moved along, I wanted to be a graphic artist. I even did some sculpture. Visual Art and other creative things like music came naturally to me. I was an artistic kid who liked creating things around myself.”
His parents, Elizabeth Ann Young and John Francis Young, Jr., were big supporters. John was a driving force for his son’s pursuit of art --- he assured that Brian got an opportunity to interview and attend The Corcoran School of Art (it has since been renamed The Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at GW). “My dad got me the interview,” Young said. “He wanted me to get the opportunity that he missed when he was a student. He did not get the chance to pursue his dreams. He did not want that situation for me.”
This was just one example of Young’s parents helping their only child to carry out his dreams.
“I would not be a graphic artist today if it weren’t for him,” Young says affectionately of his father.
Pursuing the arts as a career is something that doesn’t come with its ups and downs, as he spent all four years at the Cochran but didn’t graduate. Young went on to work at numerous media institutions, schools, activist groups, and museums over the course of his career. They include The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and taught graphic design as an instructor at Northern Virginia Community College. Notable organizations he has worked with include the National Coalition on Black Voter Participation, BET, YSB Magazine, The Washington Informer Newspaper, where he helped them win newspaper awards (National Newspaper Publishers Association) in 2014, as well as The Black Press of America, 100 Black men of American in ATL, Port ‘O Harlem Magazine, People for the American Way, Prince George’s Suite Magazine and Media.
But it’s Young’s passion for creating graphics based on black history and culture that has made him a recognized and sought-after designer in the Washington, DC metro area over the past 20 years. Creating powerful graphics from Malcolm X and Bob Marley event activists to publishing awe-inspiring graphics for local and national black media, Young, who launched Young Design, developed a reputation similar to the young, hot DJs that rappers would seek out when looking for the right beats for their rhymes.
“It shows how they touched my life and affected everyone in a concentric circle like a ripple of water,” he says of the iconic artists and figures that he’s created homage. His work on Aretha Franklin, Maurice White, and Prince and his latest work on Cicely Tyson are powerful pieces. He has also created pieces celebrating cultural inspiration and black empowerment.
“I feel like I have a connection with Maurice White [and people like that]. How his music influenced me and my thinking and my behavior what I thought about at the time.”
Young’s motivation to create socially conscious graphic
F**K trump: years
As Graphic Designer, Artist, Poetry
1st, 2nd, 3rd place awards & others
da crowns, TEE shirt designs
change is gonna come... sam cook