What is your name or what name do you go by?
My name is Adreanna but most of my family and friends call me Dana. The name Dana started when I was a baby because my brother couldn’t say Adreanna so he said “Dana” instead, and from then on it’s just stuck with me.
What is your ethnicity? and does that play a role in your expression?
I’m Greek. I used to only do Greek inspired artworks before I moved onto doing only Hip-Hop inspired works, but so far it hasn’t played much of a role at all in what I do at the moment, but I have plans on incorporating some of my roots into my work soon.
How did you get into art and merging Rap music into your art?
I’ve always loved doing art, for as long as I could remember, but it was in around 2008-9 when I began to merge it into my art. I had always been surrounded by hip-hop my whole life in a number of ways, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I began to get very involved with it, so involved that my whole art style changed to strictly hip-hop inspired pieces.
What is your most prized piece? What tools did you use to make it?
Probably my ‘Legends Never Die’ paintings of Tupac, Biggie and Eazy. I had to do it for my year 12 Major Body of Work for my visual arts class. I tried incorporating 4 elements of Hip-Hop (Emcee, DJ, Graffiti & Break Dancing) into the artworks. I used the subjects, Pac, Big and Eazy as the Emcee’s, vinyl records as their halos to represent DJing, cardboard to represent break dancing, and the gold handwritten lyrics on the records to represent Graffiti. Other than that, I used wood, acrylic paint and sponge for the pixelated background, as well as acrylic paint mixed with impasto for the subjects themselves.
Who are your favorite rappers and why?
I was about to start listing my favorites until I scratched the idea. The reason being, I simply have too many. To me it’s like, all my favorites are each in their own category’s because they all have their own individual styles and approaches, and each of them connect to me on different levels.
Obviously you like Gangsta rap, why does it appeal to you and inspire your art?
I like Gangsta rap to an extent since I’m from Australia, so I can only connect to it to a certain extent lyrically, but its hardcore, its real, it’s in your face, and people get mad about it. It’s like with art, they say it should make the uncomfortable feel comfortable and the comfortable feel uncomfortable, and I believe that’s what the art of Gangsta Rap does, and that appeals and inspires me.
Why did you decide to print shirts? What is the idea behind it?
I had done a drawing one day, it was half of Eazy’s face and half of Cubes face merged together. I got an old shirt and a sharpie, drew it up on that, then took a photo with it on and posted it to Instagram and Tumblr. Next thing I knew I was receiving messages from people saying “I’d buy one if you sold them”, so from then on I just kept drawing up all my different drawings on tops and singlets and the demand just kept on coming in. I was really enjoying what I was doing, and it was the greatest feeling knowing that people from all around the world were liking what I was doing too, so I thought, why not make it into something bigger, so I did. Now a year or two later, I’m using proper fabric ink instead of sharpies, to print onto good quality shirts instead of $4 singlets from K-mart, at my own proper working station instead of on my bedroom floor. I wanted to do more than shirts, but when I opened my business (Ole Skool) I was in my final year of school, so while everyone was studying for exams I was opening a clothing line, and the shirts where the smallest and easiest thing I could do at the time, that’s why I chose to do them. Each shirt is also exclusively hand printed by myself. I want people to know that because the idea behind Ole Skool wasn’t made to have my shirts printed by some company to then sell so I can have money. The idea behind Ole Skool is to do something that I love and am passionate about, as well as to have people appreciate the movement I’m trying to achieve with Ole Skool. People just have to remember that this is only the beginning of something great, I just wish they could see the same potential that I see in myself.
Do you make your clothes by hand?
I only make some by hand, but I make sure everything I sell has something done by myself on it. For example, I have a picture where I’m wearing a black and gold coordinate outfit (jacket and shorts) as well as a black and gold bucket hat. I handmade the whole outfit, from printing the pattern onto it, to sewing it all together. So you’ve got that, compared to the shirts that I sell, where I buy the shirts then hand print the designs on them myself. My parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas a few years back since they knew I really enjoyed sewing, so I have that set up in my bedroom and I sew there. The screen-printing is done in another part of my house where I have all my shirts and inks set up, unless it’s a custom order, then I do that in my bedroom also with just ink and a paintbrush.
What are your goals? Where would you like to be in the next 5 years?
To be happy and to be able to bring happiness to others with the things I produce, as well as to be proud of myself, and make my family proud. Other than that I want to be known in Hip-Hop, but not as in fame, as in if a fellow hip-hopper needs clothing, they know where to come.
I don’t know where I’d want to be in the next 5 years though, I just hope to be better developed and recognizable.
What is your ultimate goal for your art work and clothing ideas?
To make a difference in Hip-Hop, even if it’s the slightest. I just want to use all the talent I was blessed with, as well as for these rappers/hip-hoppers to be wearing my clothing, especially the legends, that would be an honor.
If you had a chance to hangout with one of the rap legends in your piece who would it be? Why?
Eazy-E no doubt. I couldn’t list why him in all honesty, I just get the right feeling when I think about it.
Contact Dana: www.oleskool.bigcartel.com and @danagreki & @ole.skool on Instagram.