I grew up watching Carlos “Dzine” Rolon painting graffiti artwork on the walls of our neighborhood in Brighton Park. The public walls were usually covered in gang symbols, marking territory, intimidating community residents, and influencing youth. I rode my bike around, played in the Davis School playground, and walked back and forth from my grandma’s house on 38th.
In a neighborhood where “everybody knows everybody” Carlos was a family friend to my mom and stepfather. I remember one night the grown-ups were in the kitchen talking loudly and drinking but it was time for the kids to go to sleep. We didn’t have a door in the bedroom I shared with my brother in the kitchen. This is where we were supposed to “go to sleep”. Carlos came into our room and talked to my brother and I. He said how hard it must be to go to sleep with these grown-ups making all this noise. He said just try. He was empathizing with us on our level.
Dzine’s artwork was colorful organic shapes, psychedelic, and like nothing I have ever seen. It was not at all like the usual graffiti styles that became the popular norm. He was out of place in a neighborhood filled with gangs and brown walls. He left the neighborhood and went on to create work in galleries across the world. He’s published books and gave me an opportunity to work for him when he put a Facebook post saying he needed a Graphic Designer.
I was already in awe of his work. I was nervous to stand next to him. He was everything I wanted to be as a professional artist. He had his own studio and staff to create personal art on every whim.
I learned a lot from working with Dzine Studio and still use those professional learnings in what I do today. I am in constant awe of the work his studio creates.
These samples of work are the collection that was actualized. There were many other concepts, reference files, and variations I still have in my archives.
Creative ideas sit in our minds waiting to be executed. Like babies waiting to be born. We just have to give them life and carry them out to fruition.