What It’s Really Like to Be a Working Black Artist in Wisconsin 

By Cherita Booker
February 10, 2023

“I never know if I am being asked to be a part of something out of white guilt or because I’ve earned it,” said Brooklyn Doby, owner of B. Denae Artistry and the subject of this Small Business Spotlight.

Madison born and raised, Brooklyn Doby earned her bachelor’s degree in art therapy before taking a chance by betting on, and employing, herself during the height of the pandemic. Now, three years later, at just 25 years young, she’s using art as her voice, and wants to teach others to do it too. 

Cherita Booker, UpNorthNews Reporter: What drew you to an art career?

Brooklyn Doby, Artist: I’ve loved art since I was a little girl, and it was one of my favorite subjects in school. I come from a very creative background of musicians, graphic designers, and photographers, so I always knew that my career path would not be a traditional one. I started taking it more seriously once I got to high school. 

Cherita: Why Art Therapy, specifically?

Brooklyn: Art Therapy is a form of emotional healing through art making. Throughout my life, art has paved the way for me to make connections, explore my own identity, and inspire change. Art has been my voice when I don’t have words. Now, I’m using my love of art to help other people find their own voices. 

Brooklyn Doby

Cherita: What kind of art do you make and sell?

Brooklyn: My work reflects my love for acrylic paint, portraits, and abstracts of Black beauty. I create and sell original acrylic paintings, as well as clothes, mugs, and stickers with my art on them. 


Cherita: What’s your favorite thing you’ve created so far?

Brooklyn: A painting called “Exhaling.” It’s one of the few paintings I created for myself during the pandemic. I called it “Exhaling” because it’s a visual representation of releasing pent-up emotions and finally allowing myself to flow freely. I decided not to sell it as a reminder to always create from my heart and not for others’ approval. 

Cherita: What’s it like being a woman of color in the art world?

Brooklyn:  Sometimes it feels like it’s the reason for some of my success. I never know if I am being asked to be a part of something out of white guilt or because I’ve earned it. Though, being a woman of color in the art industry also has its advantages because I know that no one else can produce what I can the way that I can, and that makes me an asset. 

Cherita: What’s the hardest part of being a full-time artist? 

Brooklyn: Passion doesn’t always equal profit. There aren’t enough opportunities in Wisconsin for artists alone, let alone for artists of color, to make a real living. I wish people could see that there is real value in the art industry and do more to support artists. 

Brooklyn Doby

Cherita: What’s your biggest accomplishment so far? 

Brooklyn: Being able to say that my artwork can be found all around my hometown! I’ve been featured in Madison’s Art Fair on the Square more than once, and I get to do what I’m passionate about for a living.

Cherita: What’s your ultimate goal? 

Brooklyn: Being a woman of color in the art industry has made me even more passionate about creating art that uplifts women and communities of color. My life goal is to use my (Art Therapy) degree to create a safe space for Black women to create, heal, and be heard.

Cherita: What’s your best piece of advice for up-and-coming artists?

Brooklyn: Always believe in yourself and your capabilities. Know your worth and never settle. Stay true to your craft & the opportunities will follow. There are no limits to where your talent can take you.

Click here to see and/or purchase Brooklyn’s work. 


  • Cherita Booker

    Milwaukee native Cherita Booker attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in various roles as a multimedia journalist since 2017. She enjoys photography, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


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