Collaboration with Christina Rojas

Photo by Christina Rojas


This spring I had the pleasure of collaborating on a canvas with Queens, NYC artist Christina Rojas. Over the last year we had been admiring each others style and works. We nailed down a few trades, but decided a collaboration piece would be a nice idea. We were curious how our works would look arranged together into one composition. We began our process and the energy was spot on. This image above is the final product. Christina did a great job of documenting the process so that we could make our steps transparent here. If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know how I love to share this stuff. I am super happy with the outcome. We both intend to inspire other artists to collaborate more, not only with artists that they like, but to challenge themselves with new mediums. You can visit Christina’s online portfolio here. Christina’s work  is energetic and prolific. Her work reflects her energy. She is a character designer / photographer that is currently studying in CUNY to become an art professor. Her characters are kid – friendly, and she creates those characters using diverse mediums such as paint, graphite, paint, fabric, digital, etc. Their purpose is to bring happiness and a smile to your face. I’d like to now turn the post over to Christina. Enjoy

Post by Christina Rojas


“The Ongoing Jazz Potential”

Concept / Idea :

For my collaboration with artist Ryan Seslow, I wanted to re-visit my character, the “Jazz Puffin”, who made his debut at the Ryan Seslow / Jeffrey Allen Price “Energetic Fusion” show at CUNY York College last Spring 2012. The “Jazz Puffin” was to be interactive, like the first version that “chilled out” on the gallery wall amongst various works, so for this piece I decided to make him out of three – dimensional foam board. When placed on the canvas, he seems to be popping out of the piece and with his wing outstretched, Jazz “holds” images placed on his palm by Ryan.

The background idea came from a sketch done by Ryan, where he wanted a bright sky in the background and colorful clouds in the foreground. He also wanted to include some images printed on various materials to add to our background, which would create an overall energetic, colorful, and full of character piece!

Process :

For the collaboration, we both made sketches of our ideas for the piece. After they were shared between us, the decision was made to use a combination of Ryan’s background sketch and my Jazz Puffin character.

I made a rough sketch of the Jazz Puffin and then enlarged it to the desired size. He was then graphite transferred onto foam board, which gave Jazz a three-dimensional popping – off – the – canvas look, just like the original interactive piece at the “Energetic Fusion” show.

To work on the piece, I brought all the pieces ( foam board, canvas, paints, etc. ) to Ryan so we could give each other feedback and work on it together. I started by inking and painting the Jazz Puffin with acrylic paint, which took a few layers since the foam board isn’t as accepting to paint as canvas. Once Jazz was finished, it was time to start on the background. Using Ryan’s sketch as a guide, I lightly drew the clouds directly onto the canvas with pencil and prepared to start painting it.

I reviewed the color choices with Ryan, and with a green light from him I began painting. Once I added a few layers of paint for the clouds / sky, the backdrop was complete and for the next step, Ryan had to place his selected images onto the canvas using Mod Podge. Since I had never used Mod Podge on such a large scale before, Ryan decided to teach me how to apply it while he placed the images onto the canvas; like a live art demonstration. He started by wetting all the images in water and then he brushed Mod Podge over the entire canvas. When it was completely covered, the soaked images were carefully placed onto the surface with an extra coat of Mod Podge applied over them. This had to be my favorite part of the collaboration, since we were not just working together on the piece, but I was able to learn a useful art making technique from Ryan!

The final step was to place the Jazz Puffin onto the canvas, which I hot glued on to the surface and both our signatures sealed the collaboration. Looking back at our collaboration, I have to say it was not just a great experience to work with a fellow artist, but a great way to learn new art techniques; a valuable learning experience!! It was a great honor to get to work side by side with my favorite artist and to be able to combine both our works onto one piece, which worked out great since we both like to use bold colors combined with friendly characters. When you work with someone you know or someone who shares the same artistic vision, it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off each other and get positive feedback / critique; sometimes both your creative intuitions are very similar!  It’s also a great life-skill; to be able to work with someone else in general, which shows up multiple times in our daily lives ( work, school, friendships, etc. ), so I feel that collaborations not only help an artist to grow creatively, but to grow socially.

I am certainly looking forward to working with Ryan again in the near future since this first piece that we worked on came out so well! We were able to bounce creative ideas regarding the piece between each other with similar thoughts about each decision ( what colors to use, where to place images, etc. ). He was also very generous about teaching throughout the process; he gave useful advice on materials, on process ( like the Mod Podge demonstration ) and on the layout / placement of images for a piece. Our decision to document the collaboration process step by step was a great idea since it gives a chance for people to see and read HOW we created this piece; as Ryan had said it’s better to be as transparent as you can about your art making process. I am very grateful to be have been able to work with Ryan and to learn from him; it helped to push my character design to a whole new three – dimensional level and to see one of my critters combined with his work is a great visual experience!!


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