Busta’s Person of the Week: Painting his piece of mind

Artist Dwayne Howell

Busta’s Person of the Week: Painting his piece of mind
February 21
00:00 2019

By Busta Brown

Once a month I visit local nightclubs, comedy clubs, talent shows, art exhibits, and more to find the hottest local talent to spotlight in The Chronicle. This week I’d like to introduce you to a very talented artist from Brooklyn, New York, who is now a resident of the Twin City. “One night I was out at a live painting event enjoying myself, and then my cousin called me to tell me that my uncle was about to pass. I immediately saw an image of a man kneeling down, holding his head and with paint dripping upwards.  It was a heavy feeling. I went back to the event and began painting the image in front of a live audience. My mother had passed just five months before, so it was a lot going on in my head and painting gives me peace of mind.”

Local artist Dwayne Howell tried a few careers before his dream came true. “I went to GTCC for graphic design and advertising. When that didn’t work out, I went for accounting and then nursing school and the passion just wasn’t there,” said Howell. For him, giving up wasn’t an option, “I promised myself that if I don’t make it in nursing school, I’m going for a job that I can’t get fired from; and that’s my art.” Dwayne’s determined spirit came from his parents.  “My father won two Golden Gloves championships and he played the stock market.  So I watched his hard work and win at everything he did. My mom is a fighter.  Anything that’s wrong, she will find a way to make it right. She works with the nonprofit organization Families United 4 Justice. The organization works out of cities like New York, Washington D.C., Detroit, and California. They fought alongside Sandra Bland’s family, Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, Eric Graner, Alberta Spruill, and other families that dealt with injustice and police brutality. Watching them make things happen inspired me to go for my dreams and never quit.”

The striving artist said artistry is in his DNA. “Before first grade, I was drawing my favorite cartoons and TV characters. While the other kids were outside playing sports, I was in the house drawing.” He’s known in the art community as Dr. How. “It’s a play on the 1960 classic movie Dr. Who,” he explained.  Howell painted one of the beautiful murals inside The Taste of the Triad restaurant in Winston-Salem. But his first solo exhibit was at The Artist Bloc in Greensboro in 2016. He had 35 pieces on display.  His first piece of art that he sold was a portrait of Erykah Badu. It was in high demand. “Everyone wanted it, but I didn’t sell it until it felt right. I did the painting in 2013 but didn’t sell it until 2015. It was a surreal feeling when I sold my first piece of art. It felt as if I was dreaming.”

I asked Dwayne what he enjoys most about painting; he laughed, smiled and then paused, “Women. I love painting women. And my thoughts.” Dr. How said his latest collection will be his biggest project. “I’ve been working on this since 2013.  I call it Earth 718. 718 pays homage to my home state, New York, and it’s a play on Marvel Comics’ Earth 616. It’s going to be a collection of 200 characters fused with today’s hottest celebrities. This will be the next dimension of Hip Hop.”  

Howell has said the art community is his second family, so he does his part to put the spotlight on his fellow artists. “Once a month I host an event called the Striving Artist/Artist in Market at Taste of the Triad in Winston-Salem. I bring in local artists to sell to first-time collectors so they can begin building their collection. I do it because a lot of artists here are overlooked. Artists are brought in from out of town to paint murals for the city, when there are plenty of local artists here that are extremely talented and qualified to do the work.” For bookings and more information, contact Dwayne “Dr. How” Howell on Facebook and Instagram or call (336) 491-4445.

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