Meet the artist behind ROCO’s new interactive Mini Mural – Jessica “Jexxi” Padilla of Studio.Jexxi!
In this ROCOInsider, we had a chance to chat with Jessica to explore all that went into the process of making our musical vision come to life, and to discover what she loves about being an artist, and an art teacher.
Read on to learn more – then go visit our mural located at Westheimer and Drexel to snap your own pics, and share with #ROCOPlay to receive two FREE tickets to this Saturday’s ROCO In Concert performance!
How did you become involved with Houston’s Mini Murals project?
I first learned about the project through the City of Houston’s Facebook page, it immediately interested me, so I sent in my application – I was really surprised to actually be chosen! Out of 551 entries, they only selected about 45 artists. When I went to the meeting for the artists, most of them were all older and doing art full-time, so I felt like the odd one out still being a kid in college! It was a huge honor.
When did you paint your first mural as part of this project? How does the process work?
As part of the application, artists create a few mural proposals, then we wait to hear which are selected through UP Art Studio who helps to coordinate the design with the sponsoring organization. I had applied a bit over a year ago, and finally painted my first Mini Mural in January featuring Malala Yousafzai, then I began the ROCO mural in February.
Once the draft design for a mural is set, how do you plan out the next steps to begin to paint?
First, I print out the digital design draft, to look at how I can translate it to fit well on the signal box to be painted. From there, I use the gridding method – so I will measure each side of the box, and then will mark off these measurements in a grid on the printed design.
Then on the signal box, I draw out the measured grid using chalk so that it’s erasable, and draw out each element into the grid to make it accurate to the printed design – but then everything must be painted quickly, because rain will wash off the chalk (I learned that the hard way!) So, there was definitely a little redrawing involved here and there.
Tell us about your very first mural painting – how did you get into doing larger-scale works?
My first mural was painted for the Houston Maritime Museum, in the children’s playroom. The theme is an underwater scene, and it is also interactive – kids can pretend they are driving a ship or submarine, with a nautical steering wheel.
On a college field trip I had visited this museum, and learned they were moving to a larger building with interest in having a mural. I really loved what this museum was doing for children, and I wanted to become a muralist but didn’t have experience with larger-scale works at the time, so I contacted them and offered to paint pro bono. It took me two weeks and I loved every minute, I learned so much in how to approach this kind of project.
What made you want to become a muralist?
I think because mainly, I’m literally crazy about art – I just love all kinds! Once I see something that catches my eye, like the murals around town, I really want to learn to how do it. And I have been very inspired by the work of Anat Ronen, who I met at a street art festival.
I love teaching art, it’s great fun – but I truly love creating art itself, and this is another medium to do that which others can enjoy and share in.
Outside of doing murals, what other kinds of art are you doing on a regular basis?
I primarily do freelance projects, especially portraits of family members, pets, etc., and I also do a lot of chalk art for festivals. Another big thing I’ve been getting into lately is digital art, and illustration for books. I would absolutely love to someday move into writing and illustrating my own children’s book, as I love literature too.
When did you begin creating art, and how long have you been painting specifically?
I’ve done art ever since I was a kid – my mom said I just started drawing as soon as I could pick up a pencil! I began painting around my last year of high school, in my art classes at North Shore High School in Galena Park ISD. I’m now 24, so only about seven years.
What is your background in studying art?
I was involved in art classes throughout school, and in high school I took two semesters of AP Studio Art for college credit. Additionally, I took youth classes through University of Houston-Clear Lake, and at the Glassell School of Art.
Currently I’m attending the University of Houston-Clear Lake working on my degree in Art Education with a teaching certification, and I have just one last semester of school and student teaching left. I’m planning to stay in Houston post-graduation, and I can’t wait to get out and teach.
How did you get into teaching art? What makes you want to become a teacher?
I first started teaching art through my college, teaching the same class I had taken during high school, and it felt really great to go back and now be able to teach other kids. I’ve also taught at a few elementary schools in their afterschool art programs, and have taught as well at North Shore Middle School through my student teaching internship. That was really a lot of fun because I was given full freedom to write my own lesson plans, instead of work from someone else’s.
In high school at North Shore, I had amazing teachers who inspired me, such as Mrs. Putnam and Mrs. Marin, and in college I had professors who really helped me break out of my comfort zone and try new things. I think literally the main reason I want to become an art teacher, is because I want to help kids the way my teachers helped me.
See Jessica Padilla’s Mini Mural for ROCO in Highland Village, at the southwest corner of Westheimer and Drexel – and to view more of her work, visit: https://linktr.ee/studio.jexxi
Leave A Reply