Hard Working, Rodney Ibarra

1. What’s your name and title/business name? Where are you located, city, state, country location?
My name is Rodney Ibarra, but I sometimes go by the alias Jexpo76. I am located in Hammonton, New Jersey, USA, but originally from El Paso, Texas.

2. What’s your educational and professional background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?
I went to school later than most. I decided to go back to school after years of playing in a rock band and vigorous touring. I started at a community college and then later graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree In Visual Communications from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. I graduated in the fall of 2008 and after a few months, I was able to secure a position in my small little town of Hammonton at One Trick Pony, where I’ve been working since. I started as Production Artist, then to a Junior Designer, then to a Senior Designer. I am currently employed as an Art Director.

3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?
I moonlight as a calligrapher/hand letterer and in the 6 years or so that I’ve been active, I’ve gone through many tools. Dip pens, parallel pens, soda pens, brush pens, Crayola markers, et al. More recently I’ve gone back to basics and have fallen in love again with Sharpie chisel markers and pencils taped together. I love that they push the idea of creativity and skill over the tools used. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love my iPad and Procreate. Total game changer.

4. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?
Like I mentioned before I used to play in rock bands. Well, I still do. I play in a 3-piece rock band called Surefire Broadcast with my wife. I write and record music fairly regularly. I think it helps keep me moving creatively without sitting idle.

5. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.
Some may have noticed, but my style comes from years of graffiti in my youth. I got in a heap of trouble when I was much younger and that pretty much ended my years as a graffiti artist. I started writing calligraphy about 12 years after the fact. Nothing has ever come easy for me. Everything that I am even remotely good at has been through many years of hard work.