Nesley Rojo is a senior sociology major from Wisconsin. She is a multi-talented artist who is most interested in surrealism painting, but is also interested in crocheting, ceramics and other mediums of art.
Kate Sagara: How did you first become interested in art?
Nesley Rojo: I went to a small elementary and middle school in Wisconsin and, after budget cuts, they completely cut out art class. So, it was something that I didn’t have for a while up until high school. Then, when I had the opportunity to take art again, I got super into it.
KS: What are some of your inspirations?
NR: I like painting nature, but I’m not super into making things look realistic. That’s not what art is to me. It’s more about my take on it rather than making it look like it’s real.
KS: Who are your inspirations?
NR: I really like Frida Kahlo because she’s a woman and the only Mexican artist or Mexican woman or Mexican person who I learned about in school.
KS: What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?
NR: Making time for it. Usually when I’m feeling super stressed out, I notice that [it’s been a while] since I’ve made something. And sometimes it’s not even painting — sometimes I’ll crochet. I was also super into making candles for a while.
KS: Do you ever get artist’s block, and what do you do about it?
NR: It’s usually when I’m trying to make something look realistic. I did a self portrait and it was just me staring at myself in the mirror and trying to paint my features, and I was like, “I don’t know what to do, I can’t do it,” even though my face was right there. So what helps is, when I’m painting, I try to step away and look back and draw something else. And it’s really weird — if you put something on the opposite side of the room and just stare at it for a while, it gives you a completely different perspective.
KS: Did you end up finishing your self portrait?
NR: Yeah, I did. And I had to present it. But I think a lot of people really struggle with self portraits.
KS: What do you hope to do in the future?
NR: I’m currently working at a nonprofit [First Graduate] in the Mission and I really enjoy it. I like working with marginalized communities and at-risk youth, so that’s something I’m definitely interested in.
KS: Do you have any advice you would give to younger artists?
NR: Definitely just try a lot of things out. For me, I started coloring, drawing and painting, and I’ve done ceramics and a lot of different things. So if you feel like you’re not necessarily good at, or very into, one form of art, there’s tons of other things you can do.
You can follow Nesley Rojo on Instagram at @nesleyrojo.