Artist Roxana Rojas talks about her heritage and why she works with collage.
Roxana Rojas’ career as an artist began when she was pregnant with her first child. She recalls a vivid dream, after which she woke up and produced it on paper with graphite, coloring it with colored pencils.
This turned into her first collage, which she entitled Dancing Sisters. Her gravitation to paper can be attributed to her desire to stay away from harmful chemicals during her pregnancy, but she has continued to work primarily with collage to this day.
Collage is a unique medium, and she enjoys reusing paper from magazines and other sources that people no longer want: “I’m recycling,” she explains.
Before coming to the United States, Roxana received a professional degree in information science in Peru and worked as a journalist for several years. Of all that this profession taught her, she is most grateful for the opportunity to travel:
“When I went to London, everything I saw made me cry from emotion. It was so beautiful and so different from what I’d seen before.”
Roxana believes that every aspiring artist should travel.
Several of her collages feature festive scenes in which people are socializing or dancing. These images are remnants of her childhood memories of Peruvian parties, which were filled with beautiful dresses.
Many of Roxana’s collages also depict people with no facial features. I ask her about the significance of this choice. She describes the importance of avoiding the individual and, instead, celebrating the sheer diversity of peoples. She loves working with color and showing human vibrancy in those colors:
“I don’t want to individualize people, although I use my own family sometimes in the pictures. I try to use them to represent a more universal concept… color and differences and beauty.”
This idea relates to what she hopes people will take away from observing her work:
“I hope they can feel some kind of emotion. I want them to see themselves in it. If they see a group of people moving, I want them to feel like that. If they see a mother and a child, I want them to see their wife and their child, or their mother and themselves. I want everyone to see themselves.”
On a typical day, Roxana Rojas spends hours on the phone through her job as a telephonic interpreter while crafting collages with her hands. In the afternoon, she picks up her children from school. Balancing motherhood, a full-time job and her artwork isn’t easy, but Roxana says she has her husband, Fred, to thank. Her extended family is also supportive of her artistic endeavors—a few have even purchased her work.
In the future, Roxana hopes to continue to produce artwork that explores the diversity of Americans. She loves representing and celebrating the different physical features.
“We all look crazy when you think about it.”
In her piece Faceless she explores these themes, and has added an additional component: a piece of each section will also make its way into another section. This is meant to visually represent the connection among the people in the portraits.
Roxana is determined that art continue to be a presence in her life and the lives of others: