Visited New York lately? You may have gotten a peek at Rafael Colon’s unique artwork.
His inspiration started with a request from his daughter. Today, his elaborate artwork can be found on various objects, ranging from sneakers to clothing, and most recently, skateboards.
We asked Rafael about his philosophy on his work and learned more about what it takes to be an artist. Keep reading for the full scoop. Don’t forget to check out Rafael’s page and his amazing art.
When did your passion for art begin?
My passion began 8 years ago in 2008 when my daughter suggested I paint on a pair of sneakers. That began my obsession with art and its modalities.
I was always fascinated by art but never developed full appreciation and artistic insight until I was in my mid 30’s after a trip to Italy. Seeing the old masters awakened my artistic creativity. I began to read about artists, art history, and every artistic style from street art to fine art.
How would you describe your style of art?
My art has been described as pop art mostly but also street art and mixed media art. I try to use different styles of art in my work. I am more illustrative than painterly but I mix with the theme.
What kinds of struggles have you faced as an artist and how have you overcome them?
In the beginning, I had to overcome the struggle of not being taken seriously when it came to my artistic journey because I was self taught and not classically trained in a serious art school. The internal mental struggle of not taking rejection personally was a struggle as well.
With the skateboard art I wanted to show that fine art can be shown on this medium. The Mona Lisa and other masterpieces are on wood, so why does the wood of the skateboard design have to be different? Changing the minds of galleries and museums from thinking that the shape and use of the medium should not matter is still a struggle, but young people seem to like it.
Why did you decide to pursue an Art History degree?
I decided to pursue an art history degree as a credibility status. A person can learn art history with the correct guidance and interest without schooling, but a degree in art history can open doors that wouldn’t normally be available.
What or who is your biggest source of inspiration for your creations?
Art, in and of itself, inspires me. But the world, people, and nature are always fascinating and inspiring as well.
Creatives are typically led by inspiration. Is there a “method to your madness?”
I have no real method to the madness. My motto is “Just keep on keeping on; get better, get faster, get more detailed and never stop creating.”
What are your main projects at the moment?
My main project at the moment is creating the art of the great masters on skateboards. From Van Gogh to Boticelli, Keith Haring to Norman Rockwell. I’m also creating my original art pieces simultaneously.
What’s your favorite creation?
I have no one piece I like the most. I love them all. They each have a piece of me.
How long does it typically take for you to complete one piece?
A piece usually takes less than a week to create if I’m procrastinating. If I’m motivated on one piece, it’ll take about 2 days.
Where can people go to find your work?
People can find my art on my website, social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc, as well as at galleries and museum shops.
Is art your main focus? If so, what are 3-5 tips you can offer for people who want to pursue a career in art?
Art is now a main focus. A few tips I have learned so far are:
- Never stop creating.
- Don’t take rejection seriously.
- Keep learning, reading and growing in every art direction.
- Finally, believe in what you’re doing wholeheartedly and everyone will follow.