Our 10 Artists for our 10th Anniversary celebration continues! Over the next 10 months our newsletter will feature 10 of our 'amaeyzing' Kids & Art artists who have been with us on our journey from 2008 to now.
We will compile all 10 artists' stories into a small book ready for our 10th Anniversary gala in San Francisco on December 1, 2018. Each of the 10 artists will also be given one word on which they will create a piece of art. These 10 pieces will be displayed together at our gala and will encompass the mission of Kids & Art. We thank these artists for taking part and inspiring us with their artwork and insightful words.
For April please meet artist Roque Ballesteros. If you attended our Volunteer Appreciation Party on Sunday April 22, 2018, you will have received our brand new volunteer pins. These Amaeyzing Spirit Pins were designed by Roque.
1. Name, website
2. What inspired you to begin your journey as an artist?
I’ve always drawn and loved animation and movies for as long as I can remember. I read a lot of comics and made my own with friends. When I got older, I started being known as “the artist” in school but it was just because I loved drawing so much and would always volunteer to draw things for class – logos, t-shirts, book covers, yearbook messages, posters, etc. I never thought it could be a “serious career”.
However, when I was in 7th grade I saw “The Little Mermaid” in the theater (against my will). I was so caught up in the story and the characters that it wasn’t until the middle of it that I realized someone had drawn all of it. I was hooked after that and knew that it was something that I wanted to do.
3. What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work? What do you do to get into your creative zone?
There are a lot of ways I try to keep my “creative tank” full. I love going to used book stores and just browsing everything from children’s books to art books to graphic novels. I love to watch movies and tv shows and dissect what makes them work (or not work) for me. I don’t go that often but I love going to museums and seeing all the art up close and in person. And I really love watching live theater/musicals. There is something about the magic of theater and how that connects with the audience in real time that is so inspiring. One of my career goals is to do something in theater one day.
4. What are you working on now?
I recently wrapped on working as the Production Designer on the second season of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny – a micro-series for Lucasfilm that Ghostbot produced. Currently I’m working on visual development for a reboot of a popular video game.
5. What does your art mean to you?
My art is so much of my identity. It is a piece of me that I can’t turn off (which comes with goods and bads!). It is a way of telling a story when words are not enough.
6. What has been the most difficult challenge as an artist and who are your biggest influences?
One of the most difficult challenges for me as an artist is trying to run a company at the same time. The business brain and the artist brain are on polar opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s a constant tension in my world.
Also difficult: staring at a blank page.
Some of my biggest artistic influences are Walt Disney, Jim Henson, George Lucas, Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Julie Taymor, Al Hirschfeld, Ralph Steadman, Ralph McQuarrie, Roger Deakins, Gerald McDermott, Ed Emberley, Moebius, Bruce Timm, Peter Chung, Scott Wills, Dan Krall, Mo Willems…the list goes on and on…I’m influenced by a lot!
7. What has been your favorite accomplishment as an artist?
Seeing people respond and connect with my art, whether it was through my job or my personal art. When people “get” what you are trying to communicate, it’s incredibly fulfilling.
8. What advice would you give to someone starting out as an artist?
Practice. Practice. Practice. And then when you are tired of practicing, practice some more. Find any way to put your art out there. Oftentimes, artists are trapped in their heads and it can be the hardest thing to get what is in your head out into the world. That is 90% of the battle for me.
Oh, and did I mention practice?
9. If you could live in a different artistic period, which one would you chose?
I would love to have been working in the film and animation industry in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s. So many great worlds and characters were created at that time that have influenced me tremendously. I feel like there was more innovation in the art form at that time.
If I had to choose an actual artistic period, I would say the early 1900s with German Expressionism and Cubism.
10. Do you have a favorite art gallery? Do you have a favorite color? And why?
I don’t know enough art galleries to have a favorite. However for museums in the city, I like the Legion of Honor, the SFMOMA, and the Walt Disney Family Museum.
Choosing a favorite color is tough. Depends on for what. I can usually find something to love about every color depending on the context.
Practice. Practice. Practice. And then when you are tired of practicing, practice some more.
I believe art has the power to heal because…
When people “get” what you are trying to communicate, it’s incredibly fulfilling
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Roque Ballesteros is an Emmy-nominated and award-winning director with strong artistic vision and passion for storytelling. He is one of the co-founders of Ghostbot (started in 2004), one of the premier 2D animation studios in the Bay Area. Roque graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and is grateful to live in San Francisco with his beautiful wife and two kids.
Kids & Art Foundation is thankful to have a vast community of artists who create with us. Our artists share their passion for art and their commitment to make the world a better place. Without them we cannot heal pediatric cancer through art.
If you believe in the healing power of artists then please support our artist stipends with your donations and corporate matching. All donations are 100% tax deductible and our EIN is 27-1415727