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  • Annette Dawm

Introducing Jaz Rodriguez

Jazmin “Jaz” Rodriguez is a mixed-media and digital artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Known for her use of bright colours and black outlines, Jaz said that her work is about the people and things that inspire her: “It's also about using imagery based on pop culture or nature to connect us with our feelings and journeys.”

“I have been making art digitally for almost a year and a half so that is actually very new to me but it feels very natural because I began my art journey with a Sharpie when I was a kid. I enjoy linework and that's how I see everything first,” she explained. Jaz’s style of linework successfully carries over into the digital world. However she will always have a fondness for picking up a paint brush: “Painting will always be a deep love of mine. There is more of an organic process and so much comes from painting that you just can't plan, so the building is amazing.” She added that she has a new favourite colour palette every day. She looks forward to “continued growth, new collections and exploring new styles and textures!”

Self-Portrait by Jaz Rodriguez
Self-Portrait by Jaz Rodriguez

Like many artists, Rodriguez has used Inktober as a way to push herself creatively. The daily drawing challenge takes place in October, but the idea of following a prompt or theme can be used year round. According to Jaz, “The idea of creating themes or prompts to keep yourself motivated and accountable is nice. I love a theme and I love motivation! When you use social media as a tool, as an artist, you need content all the time…. That can be draining and even uninspiring, but prompts and themes can really help!”

Jaz has been trying to sell her art since she was a teenager, although some of her work is not for sale. This includes a recent portrait of National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. The piece was only intended to celebrate Amanda’s poetry and other achievements. For Rodriguez, determining the prices of her other pieces has been a “learning process”.

“I factor in a living wage for myself for an hourly and materials. I also do a lot of art market research. I also am constantly seeing what my peers are doing and adjusting. Being a full-time artist is hard but that is my dream. I’m grateful every day that I get to try for it.”

In January 2021, Jaz began donating some of her proceeds to Mutual Aid programs in her community. She explained Mutual Aid as “Solidarity rather than Charity. I encourage everyone to look into Mutual Aid initiatives near you! A little time and help can go a long way for so many.” More local information can be found by Googling “Mutual Aid” followed by your town, city or county (for example, “Mutual Aid Toronto” or “Mutual Aid Grey-Bruce”).

Aside from contributing to Mutual Aid, Jazmin Rodriguez can also be found as a voice of encouragement to her followers online. By letting others know she believes in them, Jaz is making the internet a more positive place to be: “I think we are in such a watershed moment in this world. We all are learning and unlearning. We are all tired some days. So many are struggling and are doing their very best. That's tough, and tough times can shift our confidence. Tough times can try to keep us down, but trusting in yourself and your capabilities goes a long way. It prepares you for the ebbs and flows. I can't see a better way to share my energy with others than to tell them I believe in them, because I really mean it…. Make lists, write down your ideas, trust your vision and surround yourself with energy that does the same.”

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Photos courtesy of Jaz Rodriguez.

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