News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Canaan. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Canaan Ray-Strong

JXTA Lab/Studio: Contemporary Art  Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

My art teacher freshman year in high school. Since freshman year, I did VALT in the summer. I was in Textile before, but starting winter of this year I was in Contemporary.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

The freedom. You can actually work on the stuff you want to work on. You can actually do the things that you want to do, and you learn more about the art world.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

The show that we had. Cause I don’t think I had any pieces done the week of the show. So I worked at home and at school and here to get it all done. That was the first time my work has ever been displayed, so that was pretty dope. Other than printing my shirts that I designed myself, and then reprinting them and selling them, that was really cool. It was the skull with the headdress design.

Advice for a potential JXTA participant?

Participate in JXTA, but also look at different organizations for artistic teens in the Twin Cities because there are a lot. I know the Walker has some and also Intermedia Arts has some programs too, and just do as many programs as you can. I ended up doing a lot of Native American stuff, so I did the Indian Entrepreneurs and the Minnesota Indigenous Youth Freedom Project. We wrote grants and we did a community mural on Mother Earth Day for the Mother Earth Festival. 

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I want to go to school for entrepreneurship. I want to become a firefighter in the meantime, so I’m going to start taking classes for that. And I also want to be an artist, so we’ll see if it all works out. Hopefully it will.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Turquoise. Really cool. It’s a very calm, cool color. Whenever you think of something cool. It’s kinda nice and exciting but it’s really calm.

Which artist inspires you?

I’d say David Cho. I was really into him, we have similar creative processes and he sold a mural for Facebook stock. $100 million, at least.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Self – exploration. You can use art as a mirror and try to put whatever is inside of you outside. Just take your thoughts, like things that are very funny to you but don’t make sense, and put that out into space.

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

2015 hs grads plain PRINTTwelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation.

And we’re here to celebrate that accomplishment by recognizing their contributions with art & design in the community, based on their creativity and work at JXTA. To put it best, these apprentices put our philosophy of ‘learning by doing’ into real action.

Click on the photos to get to know a little about these talented individuals as they share different thoughts that include reflection on their own artistic development, what artists inspire them and what the importance of being an artist/designer/creative/maker is (and more!). Congrats to all of them!

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News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Alycia. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Alycia Rocque

JXTA Lab/Studio: Textiles and Screen Printing Lab

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I was in elementary school and JXTA came to my school and did a mural for us. Then a couple of kids were taken here for a fieldtrip. I was really interested in it and started taking classes when I was 10 years old. I have been working with JXTA for 7 years, with 5 years in the Textile Lab.

What’s the best thing about your lab?

I love it, its like a second home. It provides a lot of structure and its almost like second nature coming here. In my lab, I like that there is no one way to do anything. It is a technical process but you are expected to adapt it your own way and kind of run with it. There are different procedures and alternative ways to learn.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

I think the very first class I took here. It was basically VALT before VALT was a thing. I was the youngest person there, I was 10 and everyone else were seniors and juniors in high school. We had to do a critique of our pieces and stand up, and I remember being really self-conscious about my art. But the teacher I had, Peyton, really pushed me and I was really proud of myself, standing in front of these really advanced students and showing my work.

How have you engaged with North Minneapolis through JXTA?

I’ve attended many more art galleries in the community. Even if I can’t pay for anything, I think it helps for them to know that they have that support. Its good to know that people like what you’re doing and they want you to keep doing it.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

Now I’m going to college, study film. Hopefully I can get some projects done and make some films. I want to make films that have a bit more representation of different people – women, people of color, transgender people. I definitely want to come back here in the summertime and instruct. I feel like this place has given me a lot and I want to give that back.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

You’re making your art for you because that’s your contribution to society and the world and you should be able to stand behind it and be proud of it.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Aislinn. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Aislinn Mayfield

JXTA Lab/Studio: Contemporary Art 

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Through Step Up. I’ve been working with JXTA for about 3 years now and this past school year was my first school year working with JXTA. Before that I only worked during the summers.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

I like that even though for the most part each apprentice has their own focus in terms of what do they want to make, but at the end of it in general, we all have a good sense of togetherness and we can help build off of each other and collaborate. Like, we can easily get together and work on a commission piece and it won’t be a problem, no clash.

What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome recently?

My biggest challenge in the beginning was I wasn’t really confident in my artwork and I definitely didn’t give it a lot of time. I had to think on conceptually what I wanted to make or what I wanted to convey. That was the hardest thing because not only was it difficult for me to talk about what do I want to make, but to just talk about my work in general, because I never really spent the time developing it until I got here. As time went on, the encouragement and support of the other apprentices and my instructors helped me build off of that, so I’m better now.

Advice for a potential JXTA participant?

I would tell them to really listen to the tips that their instructors give them, and work as much as you can, even though you may feel like you don’t know how to do this or are afraid to try it. Just try it and don’t be afraid to work it out. As long as you take the time to develop a skill it doesn’t matter your skill level is when you start, when you devote time to it you can always grow.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

I’d pick purple. It’s just a beautiful color to me and I think that all of the people here, they’re beautiful. It’s like a cool color. Well, it has blue and red, warm, cool, I don’t know why. :)

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I was in an art exhibition for the Contemporary Art Studio, and that was pretty cool. I’ve never had that happen before, so I’m just excited about doing more stuff like that, getting my work out there so other people can see it. Currently I’m working with some friends, a few from JXTA and a couple outside of JXTA on making this social artist event for kids our age to just come out and connect with other artists, and try to get everybody to get to know each other and build that sense of artist community. Hopefully this can be an annual thing.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

You’re able to create something and no matter what you create, someone can interpret it without you having to say words about it.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Johnneta. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Johnneta Hughes

JXTA Lab/Studio: Enviro Design Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Through an internship through Step-Up. I’ve been with JXTA for a year and this is coming to my second summer.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

Learning how to build. I don’t like the design work too much, but learning how to build, I love it.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

Building a bike shed because it took a lot of hard work. We even worked out in the rain sometimes.

What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome recently?

My biggest challenge was working with Sketch Up online, and I hate using the computers. But it’s just something that you have to do and once you learn how to do it, it gets easier over time.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Red and orange. Warm and loving.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I will be going to college. I don’t know what I’m going to major in yet, I’m still undecided. I want to go to Augsburg or Macalester or Concordia.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Being your own person, being you. Bring out your own creativity.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Tenzin. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Tenzin Jhanghup

JXTA Lab/Studio: Enviro Design Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Through Step Up in the summer of 2013.

What’s the best thing about your lab?

We do designing online and then we actually build it. I like building, and I like sketching using Sketch-up because you get to use your own ideas.

Which artist inspires you?

My instructors Sam and Coal. I’ve been working with Sam for the longest but I also like Coal because she majored in landscape architecture so I look up to her and I ask her stuff and she helps me.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

My first year here, I presented about this bike rack, and it got picked. It’s outside the Hennepin County Services Hub building. It was hard at first but I got used to it.

How have you engaged with North Minneapolis through your work?

Well I’m in Environmental design and I’m in Tactical, and in Tactical we go outside and we ask people what they want to see more of over Northside, or what they don’t like. So it has helped me with my communication skills with people. Working here has helped me know the real life the real world.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Blue. It’s calm and you feel comfortable.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I’m planning on going to MCTC for two years to take my generals and then I plan on transferring to the University of Minnesota for their art program or something, I don’t know yet. I want something that has to do with landscape architecture.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

It’s important to love what you do, because if you’re not interested or if you’re not fully committed to it, you’re not going to present your best.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Yupha. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Yupha Chang

JXTA Lab/Studio: Graphics Lab

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I hear about JXTA through a summer program called Step Up.

What’s the best thing about your lab?

I like how people communicate with each other and as a group, we discuss what needs to be done and help each other with what needs to be fixed.

What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome recently?

I was kind’ve quiet and shy but then I’ve been here for almost a year and I got to know people and the groups. We are just fun and we bonded together.

Advice for a potential JXTA participant?

My advice is maybe its not about if you are an artist or if you can draw. Its about what you want to make happen and if you want to make it fun. Its not about being good at it.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Sky blue because I was thinking of the sky. Blue sky has bright white and blue at the same time. In here, JXTA is like blue sky because we are diverse and we come together, and that makes a bright sky and community. And sometimes you feel blue because so much work is happening here.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I plan to go to college, do my generals. I’m not sure about my dream job.  I know that I’m good at arts and I can sing and other stuff. At the same time I might want to try something else.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Its not what people think or want you to create, its about what you want to create, what you express and what you are feeling through that art.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Virdell. #JXTAGraduatesVirdell blog post pic copy

Full name: Virdell Brown

JXTA Lab/Studio: Contemporary Art

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Three years ago my friend told me about it, Canaan. At first I was kind of skeptical about it, but then he actually invited me. They were headed to a museum, and I got to actually be around. I was like, “This is kind of a chill environment, why not?” So then I signed up, I think like a few months after that.

Whats the best thing about your lab?

What I like about Contemporary is that I get to make my own artwork and there is no deadline. I don’t have to get things done in a certain amount of time. I don’t like that pressure, like oh, you have this amount of days or this amount of weeks to get things done, and then it’s like I’ll do it but it won’t be as good. So I can do my best and I can take however long I want, so I like that.

What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome recently?

I would say that my biggest challenge is that I didn’t know how to open up really. Or not necessarily open up, like it’s hard for me to really talk to people. Over time, going to certain events, I learned to  kind’ve get over that so I don’t have so much trouble being able to talk in front of people. I just need to know what I’m about to say [laughs].

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I want to have my own gallery. Hopefully I’ll have enough artwork, like my own body of work so I can make my own gallery. And also my dream is to become a world-renowned artist. That’d be really nice if I could do that as well.

Which artist has influenced your work most, or is just a personal favorite?

My favorite artist would be Michelangelo. I like Michelangelo because when I was in elementary school, 5th grade, my teacher had this really huge book of Michelangelo’s artwork. There was this picture of God and Adam and I was like, “This is really dope.” And it’s surrealistic kinda, so in between this physical reality and the abstract kind of spiritual reality. I like that stuff cause it embodies me mentally a little bit, like I’m stuck between here and the spiritual, the abstract.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Neon green. Neon green is a very bright color, and green is in nature, so it’s just like a very good experience here. It’s just a very light color. I like neon green. I’m surrounded by people who also do artwork. People here are just generally good and nice. They’re here to work and also talk to you, and they actually care, they actually like speaking to you. It’s pretty cool. I like it here.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Using the knowledge that I’ve gained from reading and incorporating it into my artwork.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Akhil. #JXTAGraduatesakahil_BWsm

Full name: Akhil Miller

JXTA Lab/Studio: Graphics Lab

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I started at Step Up. But since I was very young man – I was about 9 in 3rd grade at Harvest Preparatory School – I wanted to get into graphic design. I initially wanted to become a novelist. Because I feel like I have so much to communicate and I like pencil and paper and writing things down.

What’s the best thing about your lab?

My lab is JXTA. So I guess to me, the question really is ‘what’s the best thing about JXTA?’ That of course, are the opportunities. When I got at the end of my role for my first job with Asian Media Access, I didn’t know what the next step was. And if it weren’t for programs like JXTA, there wouldn’t be a next step especially for a 14 or 15 year old. JXTA was the missing link. Even though JXTA is a stepping stone, I don’t plan on totally separating myself. Its such a an immersive stepping stone that I want to build on.

How have you engaged with North Minneapolis through your work?

I work with a lot of clients. One of the most recent clients was the Broadway Family Medicine Clinic across the street. Our main contact there, wanted to [transmit the message of] what health is and how health is inseparable from body, mind and soul, through our creative youth. He felt like that [message] was an integral part of Northside.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

3 years ago I had to go through VALT for 12 weeks in the wintertime when I was a sophomore in high school. I was also taking AP classes and I had honors English. So I was up late working on homework. One of my favorite experiences was all of that sweat that I had to pour in to get to the lab, because it taught me time management and to value my time so much.

How has working in this community informed your social awareness?

One of the special things is that JXTA offers these opportunities to the kids within the community. Its like, growing up on the Northside, I’ve always been around the kids in the community, and when I come to JXTA, I see the same kids in the community, people who I thought I understood but I actually didn’t truly understand. Even though JXTA is a spectacularly diverse place, being amongst them and working with them taught me a lot.

Which artist inspires you?

God. The only thing I look to express through any of my work even if its super restricted with what the client wants is always about communicating truth.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Integrity.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Ana. #JXTAGraduates

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Full name: Ana Becquer

JXTA Lab/Studio: Graphics Lab

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I first heard about JXTA at a job fair at the Minneapolis Central Library in downtown. I was curious to try it out and that’s how I got here. I’ve been working with JXTA for a year now.

Whats the best thing about your lab?

The computer and technology. With Photoshop, you can edit things out and make it look good. Its easy and simple for me to use and doing digital art programs like Illustrator is mostly what I prefer.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

Probably the self portrait. I was pretty proud of that because I worked hard on giving it a realistic look. My strongest point is visual because I focus on little details I can get in every perspective, even though I might not get them perfect.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Black and white. Its like the balance between dark and light, ying and yang, good and evil, all sorts of things. But mostly pink which is my favorite color – I just don’t like seeing it too much.

Advice for a potential VALT participant?

If you happen to be a beginner in the VALT program, just do what you gotta do. I’m pretty sure that’s been heard a lot but it can be pretty difficult when you start as a beginner if you have no experience of drawing.

If you are person who has experience drawing, then you might want to draw on your own. People have different ways of learning of drawing what they see and what they learn. If you find a style that works perfectly then you might as well stick with it and help yourself to improve more with it and find different ways and new challenges to improve your technique.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I plan on becoming a cartoonist and a comic book artist because I’ve always dreamed of writing and telling stories of my own. And since comics are my favorite, its my personal thing and its what I want to do.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

To draw a lot.

Read about another graduate!