Gimme 5: Ming Donkey

I recently spoke with Ming Donkey, a Jackson-based artist, whose current collection opens a month-long exhibit, entitled “Red, White, & You,” at the Columbus Arts Council’s Rosenzweig Arts Center (501 Main Street) this Thursday, August 3rd, from 5:30pm-7:00pm, about his work, his influences, and some other interesting details.

  1. Have you had any formal art lessons or are you self-taught?

Ming (we’re on a first-name basis) indicated that he received an M.F.A. in Electronic Visualization from Mississippi State University. When asked to elaborate, he explained that ‘Electronic Visualization” can be succinctly referred to as “digital media.”

2. How did you come to work under the name “Ming Donkey?

Ming explained that, while living in New Orleans – along with his “fake” cousin, Eugene – for a few years just before Hurricane Katrina, he had the experience of helping round-up a donkey that was running loose in their neighborhood. As a result, their neighbors began to refer to him and his “cousin” as the “Donkey Boys.” Eventually, he and Eugene began performing music together under the name “Superstar Donkey Donkey.” They were known, individually, as Ming Donkey and Eugene Donkey.

3. What genre best describes your work?

Ming described his work as “urban folk art,” with a nod to the Mission School style of art.

According to its Wikipedia listing, “The Mission School (sometimes referred to as ‘New Folk’ or ‘Urban Rustic’) is an art movement of the 1990s and 2000s, centered in the Mission District, San Francisco, California,” and that “Artists of the Mission School take their inspiration from the urban, bohemian, ‘street’ culture of the Mission District, and are strongly influenced by mural and graffiti art, comic and cartoon art, and folk art forms, such as sign painting and hobo art.’

4. What artists have influenced your work?

Ming replied that the late Margaret Kilgallen was one of his favorites, describing her work as “mighty.”

5. How long does it take you to complete a piece?

Ming replied that, as is the case with many artists, the work is never really done, unless it is “rehomed” by a collector, and he no longer has the opportunity to make changes or embellishments.

Bonus: Tell us something that nobody knows about you.

Ming replied to this query with several tidbits, among them: “I take pretty good care of my stuff…still wear some clothes I’ve had since high school,” “I am stronger than I probably look (from moving music equipment,” and “I almost got in trouble for playing Slash’s (of Guns N’ Roses) guitar once.”

Ming Donkey is also a talented musician, has been a founder or member of several bands, and has performed with acts as diverse as Marty Stuart and British band the Subhumans. He is currently a member of a band called Witchcake, which has six songs now being mixed by Malaco Records’ wizard, Kent Bruce. He expects that they will be coming out soon.

Here’s an example of his musical talent:

To see more of Ming Donkey’s artwork, visit

Follow Ming Donkey on Facebook at, on Instagram at and on YouTube at You can also find his music on Bandcamp at  

To learn more about the amazing art and arts-related programming being hosted by the Columbus Arts Council, visit