Rose Jaffe is a DC-based illustrator and painter who has has exhibited work in DC, New York City, New York; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Prague, Czech Republic. Over the past several years, I’ve seen Rose’s work throughout DC on walls, in gallery spaces, and on buildings. I’ve always wondered who this artist was and when I finally found out, I not only further fell in love with her work, but also her sense of style.
What I really love about Rose’s artwork in particular is her sense of color and line. The lines in her illustrations and paintings have a lyrical quality- something that really strikes a chord with me when I look at drawings. In combination with saturated colors, the lines allow me to move my eyes through her work in an uninterrupted dance. It’s really quite musical!
Seriously look at this:
Back to the fashion aspect. I reached out to Rose for this blog because I was compelled by her sense of style as it relates to her art. What I have noticed is that she has this “I don’t care, I’ll wear what I want,” attitude and she mixes prints, fabrics, colors, and decades in a way that works. I can see this intent (or lack thereof) translate into her work, for she fuses all types of imagery and ways of drawing in a cohesive, and intentional manner.
To dig deeper into who she is and how she views her style, I asked her some questions.
Who are you and what do you do? (You can answer this question in any way that you desire!)
I am an artist. I was born, raised and currently reside in Washington, D.C. By day I work as the full time art teacher at Parkmont School and by night I create my own work. My passion is art in all of the forms it manifests; but my focus, talents, and study surround line drawing and painting.
Can you tell me a little bit about your art? What mediums do work with?
My style is centered around the power of simple line work and bold colors to communicate concepts. I come from a technical training in the art of drawing and painting and have worked for years to hone my skills. Coming from a structured educational setting, for me, has allowed a departure into a variety of media, as well as build on what I know. My drawings started on paper, and have now moved to canvas and eventually became boundless – working on walls, floors, anything!
I like to be fluid with the media I use depending on the project, but my go-to materials are india inks of all colors used with quill pens and brushes on bristol paper and vellum. For my paintings I generally use black gesso (to achieve intense, opaque black line) and pair it with high contrast white or red.
What are some concepts/ideas that you contend with in your current body of work?
The art I make is a response to my environment. I am honored be surround by a thriving, pulsing community of artists and activists in DC doing exciting, challenging, and innovative work. They inspire me, as does the constant flux of the world – and city – around us. More specifically, the challenges certain folks face over others. From feminism focused work to environmental justice and prison community rights, I am learning more and more from my peers about the need to bring voice to those who’s platform in unequal. Art is a powerful tool in sparking social change. If I have the means to contribute to that fight with the tools I have, I am there.
Does your sense of style influence your art? Does your art influence your sense of style?
Yes and no. I take risks with my art and do the same with my style. I want to explore even more ways for the two to cross each other, from printing designs on clothes I wear, to breaking down social constrictions of what is “beautiful” or “fashionable” in our society. If I could wear a different colored wig each day of the week, draw designs on my body and dip my entire arm in glitter I would, but I am often too preoccupied with visuals I am making, not wearing. Plus, I don’t think any of my students would be able to pay attention!
Who are some of your fashion icons?
Anyone willing to take some risks! In the words of Henri Matisse, “Creativity take courage” and I think that applies across the spectrum of visual expression.
Where do you typically shop? Any favorite local spots?
I typically shop at thrift or reuse stores. I would rather buy clothes that are already in existence. I feel I can breath new life into them, and enjoy the challenge of working storage pieces into my wardrobe.
I like Buffalo exchange, Georgia Avenue Thrift, and Value Village. I hate to admit but the occasional Forever 21 visit as well!
What is your favorite item of clothing in your closet? Favorite accessory?
My favorite item at the moment is a red Coach backpack I snagged at Unique Thrift Store a few weeks ago. It was hanging way high up on a rack and it was love at first sight. We are never apart.
I also got some black suede shoes at a thrift store in Ann Arbor. They fit me like a glove and have been my go-to kicks for over a year now. I will be sad to retire them!
Finally, a random question! What kind of music do you listen to when you work in the studio? If so, what bands/musicians?
It always changes, I am most often at the behest of my studio mates which if fine by me, but last week I can recall a mix of Dirty Projectors, Beyonce, Bonobo and the new MIA album…. If left to my own devices I will plug into the latest “This American Life” or “Radiolab” podcast! I can often escape into my world of drawing and love to have a story to take me with it.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Rose’s work: check out her website. Also, if you love Rose’s work, and want to add a little spice into your style, I recommend you buy one of these tech. cases decorated with some of her art. LOOK!