Social Media has helped with this because anyone can have a Instagram or Twitter and show their work there however there are still barriers that have to be overcome. Artist still have to figure out how to rise up high enough in the crowd in order to be seen. And it is not easy considering there is so much art out there but also because so much of the art that is appreciated is only appreciated because of the hype built around it
You could be a modern day Picasso in the flesh and you will get very few opportunities unless you have the hype to go with along with it. So in the end IMO the biggest challenge for all artist is the ability to have their work appreciated enough to support their career as an artist
How do you approach the business side of being a digital artist, such as marketing your work and finding clients?
All of my marketing is done on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. I show up every day and share my art there in order to find clients. I interact with people on a daily basis in order to grow my following and my reach.
At this time in my life this is all I can really do. I have 3 young kids so I cannot go out that often in the physical world to market my art so 99% of it is done online.
TBH I do not like the business side of being an artist
Who are some other digital artists that inspire you, and why?
So if I am being completely honest here I am not typically inspired by the art of other artist. I found my art on my own in my backyard and prior to that I was not into art so being inspired to create by art other artist create isn't a natural feeling for me
On the flip side of that I will say I am inspired by other artist stories or the way they carry themselves. One artist whos story inspires me today is Alyssa Stevens. Her rise to success in the NFT space is one that dreams are made of and is truly remarkable. Not only am I very happy for her but I am 100% inspired by the way one simple moment changed the entire trajectory of her life and art career
Another artist who inspires me is Eddie Gangland. I am truly inspired by his work ethic. It is top notch and it shows that if you work hard everyday you can be anything you want to be
One other artist who now that I think about it that I might actually be inspired by his art is Rick Sharp. His Twitter handle is @Alpha3Zero. He is one of the most complete artists I have ever seen. A master of all styles is what I would call him. To be so good at so many styles of art is definitely an inspiration for me. Not that I want to accomplish that for myself because that isn't what I nor my art is about but the idea that something like that is possible is truly inspiring
And Finally ......What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Keep going ........ Don't stop
Being an artist is a daily grind that pays very little back until you reach a certain level. You have to be strong minded and believe in yourself and your work above everything else
Take criticism with a grain of salt
Be extremely confident in yourself and in your art. If someone doesn't like what you are creating it's on them not on you. Never let anyone get you down on your art, also move at your pace
Join us as we shine a spotlight on the visionary talent of AJ Rojas
Let's dive straight in.......
What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing digital artists today?
The biggest challenge not just digital artist face but all artist face is visibility. Basically having their work seen in order to have the opportunity for it to be appreciated and purchased
There cannot be a rush when it comes to your art because your art is your life and why would you want to rush your life?
AJ's upcoming exhibition at the Baker Center for Arts April 3rd - August 18th 2023
Connect with AJ
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself - a little bio perhaps?
My name is AJ Rojas and I am a stay at home dad and artist. I am married to my beautiful wife Dana and I have 3 kids Alison, Jack and Andre. I was born and raised in Southeast Texas where I spent the first part of my life. The second part of my life took me to Austin Texas then to Dallas Texas then back to Austin and now I am currently living in Salado Texas. Sports and Art are my two passions in life. I also love to hike and go camping
When I am not doing any of these things you can usually find me chilling out on the couch watching a good tv show or movie. For the most part I am an introvert who enjoys alone time however when I am pushed out of that comfort zone I can let loose like everyone else.
I consider myself a lover and not a fighter and I always look for the peace and good in everyone.
How did you first get interested in digital art, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?
So what got me into the digital arts was basically the emergence of the NFT market. I had played with a little bit prior to discovering NFTs but it wasn't something I focused on too much. However once I began noticing the success of other artist with NFTs I jumped into digital art head first.
I guess what inspires me to pursue it as a career is the actual opportunity for success. While it is still difficult it is slightly less difficult than the physical art world. I can create and share my art to potential collectors at a much faster pace as the process for collecting NFTs eliminates the middle man that you have to go through in the physical art world. The barriers that exist in the physical art world are much smaller with digital art.
Can you describe your creative process, from idea to finished artwork?
To be honest about 95% of my work begins with absolutely no idea. I simply begin laying lines that form shapes and then I add color to fill in the shapes. Typically a piece of art is finished once all the shapes are filled in with color. The creative part of this process lies in the time between when the lines are laid and the colors are placed. It is at this time that I search inside the lines for an appealing image to paint.
Once an image is found I utilize my own color theory to place the colors by finding a perfect balance between the image I see and the shapes that make up the image. Color placement and balance are the most important aspects of my creative process. The shapes that make up a painting will dictate the colors used and how they are proportionally laid out.
Now my creative process with my rocks is slightly different than my art without my rocks. All of the above mentioned is the same however I must insert my rock into the painting at some point and it must fit within the entirety of the painting. Therefore when creating with my rocks the image behind the rock somewhat grows around the rock. Balance between the colors and shapes behind the rock are more important than
finding an appealing image within them. This is because balance isn't found until the rock, the shapes, and the colors are all in harmony. All of them must fit together in order for this style of painting to work and be visually appealing to the viewer.
What tools and software do you use to create your digital artwork?
Basically I use my rocks, my iPhone for photography of the rocks, and my iPad with Procreate to create my digital artworks. I use all 3 combined for my art with my rocks or just Procreate for my digital art that does not include my rocks
How do you stay inspired and motivated to create new work?
So IMO inspiration and motivation are two separate entities that are connected in the life of an artist.
Most of my inspiration comes from within. I am inspired by the desire to see what I can create. The idea of creating the perfect piece is enough to inspire me to attempt to create it. I am always inspired however
I am not always motivated to act on the inspiration because motivation doesn't come as easily as for me. This is because most of my motivation comes from the outside world. In order for me to continue to create I have to feel like I am bringing something of value to the table. I have to feel like the art is being appreciated. In other words it would be very difficult to continue to go out and fish every day if when you brought them home no one wanted to eat them. Art isn't the same as fish but the fisherman is rewarded by people valuing his catch. If his catch isn't valued then why would he continue to catch fish he cannot eat. Instead of catching 10 a day he might only catch 1 a day. He's motivated by the people wanting to eat his fish. I approach art in a similar way. I don't create all my art for me. It's impossible for me to consume all of my art so in order for me to stay motivated I have to continue to reach into the outside world looking for people who want to enjoy it with me.
Therefore most of my motivation comes from the idea that I can sell/share my art with others. When I am selling or getting good feedback on my work motivation is abundant. When sells are slow or no is enjoying my creations motivation is much more scarce. There is a constant ebb and flow or up and down in my degree of motivation that I have to balance in order for me to create new works consistently. Most importantly though I don't fight it. I create when I feel like creating and I take a step back when I don't. I create my best works when I create on my terms so that is how I prefer it.
What are your thoughts on the current trends in digital art/Ai art?
I'm cool with the current trends happening right now. I have no issues at all with Ai art. It isn't for me but I don't have issues with anyone utilizing it as a tool to create art. Some of it looks very awesome. TBH I can't really comment on it too much because I am not experienced in creating it. I can give my opinions on what I think about the final piece of art but not on the process of creating it.
The way I see it is you do you. If you enjoy creating it, then create it. If you want to buy it, then buy it. It's your prerogative and freedom to do whatever you want so long as it isn't infringing upon another artist work.
A Day To Remember
Discourse Of Counterparts
We are excited to learn more about your journey as an artist, including any challenges you have overcome, the inspirations behind your creations, and your vision for the future of art