As we gear up for the 8th Annual Life Preservers Project (LPP) Summer Fundraiser and Art Auction, we had the pleasure of interviewing someone that has previously contributed to the event, Marisol Del Valle, known as Dzhelasi. Dzhelasi is an immensely talented NYC street artist and graphic designer with a degree in Graphic Design and Animation. She has produced content for various online entities as she continues to provide freelance services and explore different channels with her art.
LPP: How did youth or community arts education influence your work?
Marisol: My dad used to draw. I used to do a lot with him. I had an art teacher in school, who was very intriguing; I wanted to learn how to do stuff better; the only thing that motivated me was the arts. I think [youth arts programs] are really important; a lot of kids that don’t know what they want to do benefit from it. Some need an escape, maybe things aren’t good at home. [These programs] encourage them to be themselves.
LPP: Why have you picked this particular medium? Is there a distinct reason you create the way you create?
M: I started off with digital [art]; I was inspired by the Cartoon Network, because I feel like it appeals to kids and adults as well; I don’t mess up stuff when I do it on the computer. Since then, I’ve moved onto doing more traditional pieces; I felt it was more personal, since it was harder to correct (unlike digital art). I started doing that and watercolors.
LPP: What kind of social impact does your art have?
M: A lot of people are saying that they like my stuff, they wish they can draw like me. I tell them they can. I motivate people to do something they thought the couldn’t do. That’s what my art has been doing.
LPP: Describe your inspiration – artists, humanitarians, writers, musicians, etc.
M: The work of da Vinci and Rembrandt. I like a lot of stuff that you have to look into more than what you see there; writing and meanings, that kind of stuff—something that makes people think outside the box, something that makes people think or feel a certain way. Music-wise, I like a lot of music. I’m currently listening to Korean pop. Anything that I listen to inspires me in one way or another.
LPP: Are you pushing your own kids to move towards art?
M: Whatever she wants to do [referring to her daughter]. When she was younger, she wanted to do what mom does. Now that she’s sixteen, she wants to do what she wants: play video games. I tell her, “maybe you should make video games.”
LPP: How did you get involved with Life Preservers (this is the second time you’ve participated in our fundraiser), and why do you support nonprofits/charity?
M: When Shana [Pederson, President & Founder] reached out last year, it kind of struck a tone, because at one point I was homeless and my sister was homeless. We have kids, and it’s all about helping out when you can / however you can. [This fundraiser] has to do with art [which means something to me], to give back when I’m at a stable place in life; to help someone else; thankful for pop.
Marisol Del Valle’s work will once again be auctioned off at our June 13th event or you can view more of her artwork on her website: The Art of Dzhelasi.