Written by Monica McCafferty
Utopia, Garden of Eden, The Promised Land; an age-old longing for someplace more perfect than here. At its best, this staple of the human condition drives us to dream of and build beauty and equity in our lives.
Mikquan Deane translates this instinct metaphorically and literally through his work as a visual creator. His upcoming clothing line, candidly entitled ‘Garden of Eden’ evokes this sentiment and his own definition of utopia with a slogan of ‘pure intentions only’. “When I think of Garden of Eden, I think of another planet…A place with pure intentions, and everybody wants to see everyone succeed”, says Mikquan.
Further inspired by Y2K fashion, Mikquan’s design style blends classical utopic concepts with the fertile neon grasses of modern dystopia - a relatable romanticization of the past, present, and future. Building a brand out of these themes is proximate to Mikquan’s mindset of using resources within his environment, like repurposed materials and ideas. Often, this means
sourcing other creatives. “With a group of people that believe in your goals, the manifestation is doubled or tripled,” says Mikquan.
As a former professional athlete, playing for some of the NFL's biggest teams, Mikequan has experienced first-hand being put in the ‘jock box’, but people are multifaceted. “We try to put people in boxes and categorize everyone," says Mikequan. “I like showing different sides of myself. I’m very multi-passionate and multi-talented. But that's what everybody’s like, there are so many layers to a person.”
On theme with the ‘age of technology’ focal point of his aesthetic, Mikquan primarily utilizes Instagram and other platforms to showcase his work. Rather than curate a spotless portfolio of only his best and most current pursuits, older photos are deliberately left on the feed. “I want people to see the level up”, says Mikquan.
An active mind, paired with diverse interests can be a challenge to harness. Mikquan holds this energy with peace and intention. “I just try to take it one day at a time and write down whatever thoughts I have lurking in my head daily, then see if it grows into something," he says. Mindfulness is also part of Mikquan’s strategy, “That's probably biggest for me, being present - to just be in this moment and focus on one stair, not the whole staircase”.
The desire to foster unbound creativity in himself and others is a valuable resource, as it creates an environment for the collective to flourish. Kendrick Lamar recently said at the Grammy’s, “I would like to thank the culture for allowing me to evolve”, and Mikquan is definitely a positive force, helping to build that culture. “I love being unpredictable with content - what am I going to do next?”, he says.
You can find Mikquan on Instagram @iammikquandeane.