ABOVE PHOTO: Columbus digital artist Davian Chester poses for a portrait outside of his home in Columbus, Georgia on July 1, 2019, with a Google Doodle he made for Juneteenth. Now, he might have a job with the tech giant. (Nick Wooten/Ledger-Enquirer via AP)
By Nick Wooten
COLUMBUS, Ga. –Columbus digital artist Davian Chester didn’t think a piece he created a few weeks ago would receive the attention that it did.
It was two Black arms in shackles. The chain connecting them was broken, and the broken chain formed the word “Google.’’
Now, he’s talking with the tech giant about a possible job, and there’s even a Columbus billboard featuring the work he made to honor Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated yearly on June 19 that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas, and more broadly, the end of slavery in the United States.
Chester, 26, is a Columbus native and a 2011 graduate of Northside High School. He first started drawing in the 4th and 5th grade. At first, his subjects were his favorite comic book heroes. He was particularly fond of Spider-Man, he said, because of the hero’s backstory and his trademark red and blue suit.
“I was always drawing Spider-Man,’’ he said. “As I learned more about him, I just loved his story. He was basically just a kid.’’
In middle school, he started drawing pieces that friends requested for fun. When Chester was a student at Northside High, his teachers introduced him to digital drawing tablets. He started drawing comics of himself and a few friends.
Soon, others wanted to make an appearance in Chester’s comics.
“I had to get used to it,’’ he said. “But after I kept practicing, I was like this is amazing. I just fell in love with digital.’’
He went on to Chattahoochee Valley Community College where he studied graphic design. Around that time, he started charging for portraits. He was getting freelance work then, too.
“I started doing more Black art and custom pieces for people,’’ he said.