Meet Micro Grant Recipient, Denise Coke in the USA

We are thrilled to announce our latest recipient, Denise Coke.

Denise, an award-winning creative and art director, muralist, and business owner, was born and raised in Queens, New York. Her artistic journey began at just two years old, transforming household books into her first canvases. With a certificate in Fashion Design from The High School of Fashion Industries and a BFA in Graphic Design from the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design at the University of Bridgeport, Denise’s foundation in art and design is robust. Her educational journey also includes studying abroad at Hanyang University in South Korea and earning a Certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University.

Denise has specialized in graphic design, branding, web design and development, motion design, animation, illustration, UX/UI design, and augmented reality for over a decade. Her impressive career includes working with The Madison Square Garden Company on projects ranging from the New York Rockettes to the New York Knicks and leading motion graphic design for the New York Rangers. She has also contributed her talents to numerous agencies across the United States.

A proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., the Graphic Artist Guild, and a past member of AIGA and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Denise is deeply committed to her community.

Her passion for travel has taken her to South Korea, Abu Dhabi, and Puerto Rico, infusing her work with diverse cultural inspirations. Denise is also a proud cat mom and tattoo enthusiast.

In this interview, we learn more about Denise, her work, her rich Caribbean heritage, and how she plans to use the micro grant to benefit her community.

Tell us about your business.

$NP Designs, LLC is a Black-owned, woman-owned creative agency based in Queens, New York. We specialize in brand development, web design, graphic design, and augmented reality experiences and art. Since 2011, we have been committed to educating small businesses and nonprofits on proper branding techniques while working with large-scale clients to activate their brands worldwide with immersive technology. Since 2017, we have hosted annual art shows across the country. Our flagship series, A Decade of Dimensions, promotes and supports Black digital and augmented reality artists while featuring community vendors at our marketplaces.

191st Street Tunnel Painting

What inspired you to start $NP Designs, LLC?

Denise: I started $NP Designs in 2011 as a side hustle after graduating high school. It began as a t-shirt line, but I realized there was a significant demand for graphic design services among college students. As I took on more projects, my business gained national attention. I also saw a need for spaces where up-and-coming Black artists could showcase their work, leading to the creation of A Decade of Dimensions.

How has your Caribbean heritage impacted your work?

Denise: My Caribbean background has significantly impacted my business and community engagement. With a father from Jamaica and a mother from Grenada, I prioritize hiring people from my community and work with Caribbean and African heritage vendors. My artwork often references Jamaican and Grenadian heritage, using augmented reality to tell these stories in a more immersive way, allowing users to engage deeply with Black art.

How does your work positively impact culture and community?

Denise: I have mentored many interns, employees, and contractors, helping them secure larger opportunities in their fields. Recognized by the LIONS Soccer Club as a Rising Star, I have spoken on numerous panels and career fairs, encouraging young Black students to pursue careers in tech and art. Additionally, I provide pro bono work to small businesses and nonprofits focused on education, Black historical preservation, STEAM, mental health, and the arts.

How will this micro grant be impactful for you at this time?

Denise: The micro grant will support the creation of an augmented reality mural for PS 132Q in Queens, NY. This mural will celebrate the contributions of Black people of African and Caribbean descent to New York, and it will give students a sense of pride and hope. As an alum of the school, I want to reimagine the new lunchroom where the mural will be placed, replacing the artwork that was removed due to asbestos. The mural will also encourage STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) education through its immersive experience. The grant will be used for supplies, including the augmented reality placard, printing, and AR hosting. The project is currently underway. We have collected surveys from the students and will begin work this summer, with the expected launch in September.

If you could send a single message to women around the world who dream of turning their passions into thriving businesses, what would you say?

Denise: I would say have stability or community before jumping out the window solo. So for example, work a 9-5 or have family and friends who can support you as you grow your company, because it is not easy to be a full time entrepreneur and you need a little cushion if you don’t come from money.

Connect with $NP Designs

Website: www.delasnp.com
Instagram: @delasnp.grfx
Facebook: delasnp
LinkedIn: 13011726
YouTube: delasnp
Email: info@delasnp.com

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