Roc Paint Division Season 4 Final Show.

Last month our team celebrated all that’s been accomplished during season 4 of Roc Paint Division with a closing show over at the UUU Collective’s beautiful new gallery space. We were thrilled to have such a great turnout, and the visitors had the chance to view paintings by all of our team members as well as several of the panels that were created as a team. rocpaintfinalshow-2rocpaintfinalshow-3rocpaintfinalshow-4rocpaintfinalshow-7rocpaintfinalshow-12rocpaintfinalshow-14rocpaintfinalshow-33rocpaintfinalshow-36rocpaintfinalshow-37Final show @ UUU.

Roc Paint Division x Her Voice Carries

Our first collaborative mural of the year, inspired by her project Her Voice Carries, was led by guest artist/project lead Sarah C. Rutherford. Done on large scale panels, these murals were designed to be installed in the Children’s book section of the Lincoln Library. Her Voice Carries is a local mural project that features women who are lifting up the voices of others. You can learn more about the project by checking out

Inspired by her process, the youth artists led the process of interviewing, photographing and then ultimately painting the featured woman. Seeing as this mural was situated in the library, the group decided they wanted to find a younger voice to feature. With the help of neighboring Reenah Golden from The Avenue Black Box Theater, we were connected with Taleah Elliot, a young writer, active reader, and community organizer.

Taleah is an edutainer who really loves helping others. She loves to read, write, dance, sing, act and most importantly laugh and have fun. At the age of 5, Taleah authored her first book Puppy Love. She also began Taleah’s Story Carnival which is held every second Sunday at The Avenue Blackbox Theater. The event was created with the help of her mother, Charlyn Elliot, as a way to encourage kids to find the joy in reading. Our mural was inspired by her love of reading and Story Carnival.

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What did you learn by following Sarah’s Her Voice Carries process of interviewing, photographing and designing around one woman’s story, in this case Taleah’s?

I learned that Sarah tries her very hardest to dig deep. To look into these wonder women and make sure she uncovers the gem that is their story. Sarah takes the great, good, bad and the ugly of these women, and uses it all to form a creation based off beauty and majesty. Its super powerful. -Selah

While following Sarah’s Her Voice Carries process, I learned that there were a lot of hard working, inspiring people in Rochester looking to make a change. I also learned that art can be used to amplify the voices of people looking to make positive changes. -Jaelin

I learned that it feels really good when you learn about the person you’re painting first instead of just finding a random reference picture online somewhere. I really enjoyed the backstories of all the women in the murals and I loved learning more about Taleah and what she does for her community. – Mya

I learned how to talk to a young kid and her parents, who are going through a challenging time. I’m not very good at talking to people, especially little kids, so it was good to get the experience of learning who they are and what they like. It was nice to see it all incorporated into the piece.-Katie


How did it feel to meet and interview Taleah? Does the mural depict her/ her project how you imagined it would?

It was inspirational to say the least.  Even though only seven years old, Taleah is handling loss in such a good way. Her family was so sweet to witness and she was such a bright and graceful girl. Although the mural is totally different than what I expected, I feel it does depict Taleah, and it turned out better than I had imagined. -Selah

The process of interviewing Taleah was great. It’s uplifting to know children of the younger generation are doing something meaningful. Especially for young girls growing, it’s interesting for Taleah because we are carrying her voice. I think that was the entire objective when working on this project with her and her family. – Nari



How does it feel to look at this year’s first completed project?

It is fulfilling and it brings me joy to know that something I, my team and an amazing family helped create will be seen by many hopeful young eyes. -Selah

I really like this mural a lot. It feels very magical and I think the kids in the library will really enjoy it. It feels good to have completed our first project of the year. I think I had to find my groove again after such a long break from painting on a large scale, but I love the final result.-Mya

It makes me happy to be part of such a talented team of young artists. Completing the mural also made me want to interact with the community and meet more people like Taleah. -Jaelin

sarah-1sarah-4Photo Feb 14, 6 16 53 PM

What do you think of the concept of the mural? How do you hope or expect people to feel when they see it at the library?

I hope people take it all to heart. I hope they interpret the mural how they please. That, as I do, they will find oasis in the art and also in books and wonderful stories. I hope that, like in the mural, the viewers imaginations will run wild and take them amazing places. I want everyone to find wonder and adventure in books just like Taleah and I do. -Selah

I loved the concept, it looks beautiful, magical and ethereal. I hope people feel the same magic I felt while I was looking at it. -Katie


This was the first mural you collaborated on as a full group.  What was challenging?

It was exceedingly challenging to believe in my own ability, being this was my first ever mural and the largest collaborative art piece I have ever taken part in. I found myself regularly sizing my own art skills with those of my team members. Feelings of inadequacy tried to get at me, but with constant support from my team, Justin, Brittany and Sarah, I persisted and helped do something great. -Selah



What did you most enjoy?

Working with Eli was really fun, it was the first time we ever collaborated. We had been wanting to do a collaboration for a while and this was it, it was our panel. It was also nice to work with him because we are friends and we’ve know each other prior to having this job. I think we work well together and we did a good job in the end. -Katie

Being able to discover so much about myself and learning the extent of my artistic ability. Thanks to Sarah i learned that being new to something doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be bad at it. -Selah

I most enjoy seeing it done because of all of the colors and making the background especially. The Mural really popped and having it in the lodge, which is small, makes it feel like we’re in an actual scene and it’s very nice. We have very talented staff at Roc paint division, personal opinion. -Nari



What were some of the parts of the panels that you worked on that stick out to you?

The carnival tents and the backgrounds to the panels are my favorite parts and they stand out to me the most because they help convey the sense of magic and surrealism. The aspects of the painting bring you childlike wonder and joy. – Selah

One part of the panel that sticks out to me was the book. Going into the project I was assigned the book. After hours of unsuccessful tries, I gave up. My teammates ended up finishing it for me and now it looks amazing. The book always reminds me that when you need help your teammates are always there to help. -Jaelin

The butterflies is what sticks out the most to me because it’s my favorite insect. I see butterflies as symbolic for growth and development which is tied to the Mural, reading.- Nari

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What was it like to have Taleah and her family come to see the work in progress at the lodge?


Although my nerves were slight, they were there and me being the one to have held hands with Taleah and walked around the lodge to show her the beautiful work she inspired made my heart feel happy and light. It was a feeling I could get used to. -Selah

Seeing their reactions made me so happy. I was nervous that she wouldn’t like it at first but I think she loved it. Her mother and father seemed really happy of our work too. I think we were almost done when she came so I hope she gets to see it installed in the library.-Katie


Stay tuned for info on how to see these panels once they are installed at the Lincoln Library! 


First on-site mural of 2019: Adams Street

The Roc Paint team was thrilled to welcome back one of our guest artists from last year to lead our first on-site mural of 2019. Vince Ballentine also joined us to lead our first project in 2018, and once again he came all the way from New York City to work with our crew. This year under his leadership, we added a large and stunning piece to the walls of the Adams Street R-Center, where it joins the murals led last year by Aubrey Roamer.


Read on for thoughts on the process- from Vince himself, then from our youth artists. Special thanks and photo cred to youth artist Katie for championing the documentation of this project and taking photographs just as fantastic as her painting.

Vince: This is my second year working with Roc Paint Division and it keeps getting better. We spoke over Skype and developed a concept based on their input. The group visited the Recreation center selected as the mural site, and took pictures of a several youth to be included as reference in our mural. Being this group was rather skilled, I decided to make the design complicated to keep it interesting for them.  For three days the group conquered complex shapes, value, tone, and perspective as a cohesive team. Although I was there to lead the production, I think they learned a good amount from each other, and I learned a thing or two from them.



What did you learn from the design process (photographing youth models/ lighting/etc.)? Did you feel any pressure painting portraits of youth who were at the center?


Selah: Although I did not paint any portraits personally, I could tell that the process was very difficult and at some points stressful for those doing the two portraits. It really digs into your mind that your biggest critic when creating a portrait, will be the model for said painting. It is easy to obsess on perfection when doing portraits.  

Katie: Deciding what to do with the design was fun because we all had ideas which we pulled together easily. I learned that using models to map out the light and where the portraits are going to go and who they are is important to the final design. The lighting on the reference photo really helped with doing the portraits. At first it was difficult to make the youth look alike and me and Mya really wanted to do well with our portrait, but it was easy once we started painting.



What was the experience like working on site at Adams Street R-Center on a large wall (especially compared with working at the lodge on a smaller scale?


Selah: Being that this was my first time painting an on-site mural, it was very eye opening and exciting to be in the midst of the R-Center and its regular environment. It felt welcome into the space and I also felt responsible in a way for hopefully putting smiles on the kids faces. I loved it.

Katie: At first it was overwhelming, painting a bigger wall seemed like we wouldn’t finish on time. Once we started and we laid everything out with the underpainting it got easier. Working on site had more restrictions like we had to be careful with music or what we said but it was fun!

Mya: The experience was really fun! Usually, we are working out in the open, but this time, we kind of had our own room which meant less kids. Not saying I don’t like when there are kids watching us, but the privacy allowed us to play music and talk more freely which was nice. The wall was really big but I didn’t doubt that we wouldn’t finish in time.

What did you find challenging about this mural?



Katie: Painting the hand holding the lantern was the most challenging thing I’ve ever painted. I had to get the lighting correct and I was really close up and had to be on a ladder which was hard to do and get comfortable with. In the end I think I did okay with it, I feel like I could have done better though.

Selah: Mainly living up to expectation. Not at all did I ever feel like I would be hated for imperfect work. But within myself there was always this sense of need to get things right for everyone that would see Roc Paint’s work on the wall of that R-Center. Just like the people working on portraits, I found it hard not to obsess over little details.

Mya: What was probably the most challenging part was working on a portrait with another person. When I usually paint portraits, it is just me doing that part, so to have someone else working on the same part as me was a little hard to adjust to in the beginning. By the 3rd day though, we had the hang of it pretty well.


What did you find the most rewarding?

Selah: Placing our seal on the wall at the end. I smiled the biggest when we spray painted the Roc Paint symbol onto the wall, because it made our presence final. That seal was like saying “we came, we were awesome. And we’ll stay that way.” And I hope our art with be in the R-Center forever.

Nari: Seeing us as a team accomplish our first mural together was amazing. Everyone was happy and excited. It brings a warm feeling to know we’re doing this out of passion so that was most rewarding, being together as a team and sharing the passion of being muralists.

Jaelin: I found the joy in the kids and staff’s eyes after seeing the mural extremely rewarding.


What was the experience of working with Vince as a guest artist like?

Mya: It was really fun to work with Vince again! I got to work with him last year on the mural we did at Carter street so it was really nice to be able to work with him. He’s super chill and really nice when you ask questions and that’s always a plus.

Selah: Working with Vince, I felt like I’d known him for years. The vibes were nothing but chill and he was kind of like the cool uncle. Funny, calm, collected, always supportive and easy to talk to. I hope we see him again next year.

Nari: Since I worked with Vince last year, it was a welcome back. He’s very humorous and the mural was fun to work on. He’s a very talented guy from New York, and I enjoy working with him because the perspective on the piece was amazing. It’s very hard to paint in perspective, yet accomplish perspective alone. Or at least for me.

Katie: Vince was fun to work with because he was really funny! We learned a lot from him too which was nice, it was a different learning experience than what we got with Britney or Justin. Vince had really cool ideas and a really good vibe.


Do you have a favorite memory or moment from this project?

Nari: My favorite memory was when Vince called me “Spam” as an inside joke from the first time we met him. The fact that he remembered was great to me because old people forget things. Jk Vince isn’t that old, but you get my drift.

Selah: The second day of the project, we were all on bread doing check-in and I decide to spontaneously dip my cucumber slice into my cake frosting. I thought no one noticed, but slowly, one by one everyone was laughing at my not-so-undercover silliness. I couldn’t help but laugh with them all. This was my favorite moment because it gave me the warmest feeling on the inside to laugh with everyone like that. That moment still makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It reminds me so much of how I am with my family at home, always laughing and smiling and just united. But all three days were amazing because my team makes me feel at home.

Eli: One of our coworkers eating cucumber with cake frosting (sorry Selah)




The team expands….

This week the 2019 Roc Paint Division team grew by a pretty significant and exciting percentage as we welcomed FIVE new team members: four new youth artists joined the crew, and Sarah Rutherford officially made the jump from guest artist to Public Art Coordinator, alongside Justin and Brittany. We now officially have the biggest team we’ve ever had and we are thrilled at how seamlessly the group has coalesced. Read on to meet the latest additions to our fantastic 2019 crew.



Norris Jay lll

IMG_2422Age ~ 18    Grade ~ 11th    School ~ UPrep

I wanted to join Roc Paint because I wanted to better myself as an young artist and grow with paint. I really never worked with paint so this would be a good job for me. I always want to make new friends and express my feelings through paint.

Favorite Art Medium ~ Drawing

Things I Do Outside Of Roc Paint ~ I work out and do sports such as Football, Lacrosse, Soccer And Track & Field.

Goal After High School ~ Become a  Professional Painter, IT Tech or join the Military

Fun Fact ~ My nickname is Humble and I am left handed.


Yoluixamar Cruz-Vazquez

IMG_009918 years old./ senior/School of the Arts

Why did you want to join Roc Paint Division?

I wanted to join Roc Paint Division because i want others to see my art work and feel happy or feel how i feel in my work. I also join because i want to grow as a artist and improve in my painting skills and people skills too.

What is your favorite art medium / artist  / style of art?

I love Sketching and Oil pastel. / Alice Mizrachi or Claude Monet / Visual Arts

What do you like doing outside of this program?

I love Softball or drawing in my sketchbook.

What do you want to do when you finish high school?

I want to continue with art and go to MCC for Graphic Design

What is one interesting or fun thing about you?

I am shy but I am a very good listener. I also am caring and kind.


Tehya Bollar

IMG_2518 (1)17/ 12th grade / school of the arts

I joined Roc Paint Division to grow as an artist and to meet others with the same love and enjoyment of art. 

My favorite art medium is acrylic paint. I was inspired by my art teacher and mentor Jack Lattore. My style of art is thought provoking painting.

Outside of this program I love to spend time with my family and have deep conversations about life and how to grow in it.

When I finish high school I would like to get a degree in social work and impact the future of this world, the youth.

One thing that interesting thing about me is that I’m goof ball I love to make people laugh and watch the energy shift in the room with positivity.

Paris Cockrell

downloadParis Cockrell is a 10th grade visual arts major at School of the Arts

Paris was very interested in joining ROC paint because of her deep passion for expressing expression/ emotion through art. It is a great opportunity to get paid while doing what she loves.

She loves realism and hyperrealism, especially using colored pencil. She doesn’t really have one favorite artist, but is influenced by multiple artists in the media as well as in real life.

Paris enjoys video gaming, her favorite franchise is Tomb Raider. She also loves going on crazy adventures through nature, and hanging with animals.

After highschool, she plans on moving further down the east coast, or switching costs, and possibly studying zoology, or taking up a trade.

Orlando born, Paris is originally from Florida, and spent a lot of time around her great grandmother, who was equally very talented, if not more. In addition to her great grandmother’s  realistic style, the atmosphere and constant sunshine, evening rainstorms, and happy people of Florida are what Paris aims to incorporate into her art work in the future.

Collaboration time.

Last week the Roc Paint crew tackled the collaborative project that has, over the years, come to be one of our favorite early activities, as it functions as both a team-building exercise and an initial artistic exploration. The team was split into groups of three to explore this year’s theme of “voices.” Their task was to come up with a concept that addressed the theme while integrating in each person’s style for one cohesive piece. This gives them the chance to see what working in a group together creatively is like- even for folks who’ve worked in groups extensively, doing so on a collective art piece can be a very different experience. It turned out that each of our groups really enjoyed the process and got a lot out of it. Read on for their reflections on this year’s first collaboration, and a peek at what they came up with!


Viviam, Alex, and Eli  


I learned that stepping out of your comfort zone is really important and that it is not scary, but actually super fun and educational in a way. I’ve taken the very first step in many group projects before but I’ve never worked on an art piece together with a group of people. I was scared of messing up and ruining the whole piece for the team. So I guess what was most challenging for me was definitely getting over that fear and just going for it!

The theme of animals came really naturally to our team because it was just something that we all enjoyed drawing and once we figured that out, we just had to figure out how they could tie into that theme of voices or lack of voices, which is how we ended up doing extinct animals.

My style isn’t as realistic as Eli’s, but since we were working in a group, I was forced to try to be a little bit more realistic so that our two animals would look more functional and so that they would tie together better and although that was stressful for me, I definitely learned a lot. Our idea changed a bit in order to incorporate everyone’s abilities in, and I’m glad. I like the final idea much better than some of the first ones we had. – Viviam 


Tyler, Nari, and Selah 


What was challenging about the collaboration process? What came naturally? What did you learn? — This questions feels simple, yet so complex. Within my group, I believe Narionna brought experience. She is so well-versed in leadership and knowing her way around her mind, which kind of gave me peace. If we were in a car, she would be the steering wheel. Tyler on the other hand was our wild card- he gave us fresh ideas every two minutes. Watching those two work was like being inside their heads. Amazing. As for me, I was learning. I don’t know if that’s a skill, but I learned something new every step of the way. Me being new to Roc Paint Division, I feel its my job to soak up as many new techniques as I can. That’s how I’ll grow.

I feel like what came naturally to me was my imaginative flow and sort of “outside the box” mindset I have. What was most challenging for me was being able to find the box again. I found it hard to create at times so that both my style and my message were getting across. I have Narionna to thank for getting me back on track. The biggest lesson I’ve learned while doing this collaboration is that when in the process of collaboration, there can never be just ONE role. Whether an intentional collab or not, there will always be so many factors pulled into a piece of art.

The general theme of voices stuck with us throughout the piece. All we really did was build off of that. We mainly kept this message of universal acceptance and one voice with many purposes. But I find it so cool how we all managed to take this one thought and branch off of it to make three totally different, totally awesome expressions of the heart and mind combined. It’s honestly a superpower.  –Selah 



Mya, Jaelin, and Katie collabsgroups-2

The collaboration process was great! The only challenge would be finishing it. Mya, Jaelin and I worked well together, we have similar art styles and all enjoy drawing portraits. We learned how we each could contribute and mix our parts to look fluid with the others.  What we came up with in the end definitely looks better then what I could have imagined. I don’t think any of us thought it would turn out as well as it did. I’m super happy with the results! I just wish we could have finished. –Katie

The collaboration process was a new experience for me since i didn’t really do it much last year. It wasn’t very hard for my group to come up with a concept because we all pretty much had the same interests and we all also like to do portraits. It was fun to see how each of us worked differently but were able to come up with this cohesive idea.

We all knew we had different strong points so we took turns working on different parts of the picture. For example, While i was working on the background and the shadow sunflowers, Jaelin would work on the hair of each of the three portraits while Katie would work on their skin. Then when one of us finished we would switch chairs and start a new part.  –Mya