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Jesse Raudales, Olympic Artist--Part II


Jeese Raudales, 2006 Olympic Artist

Jesse Raudales, an official Artist of the 2006 Olympics, likes to tell a story like artists of the past did before there was media, newspapers, television, or the internet. “Artist would paint stories and that’s what I express through my Art.”
Yesterday, Jesse spoke about the importance of art education, facilitation of programs for the arts and the need to fund these programs. It was the cutting of Art Program funding that forced Jesse to have to leave an art program in college in which he was making all A’s. Jesse was the only student in the class that had to leave the program.
Cheryl Curtis: When you had to leave Art School, were you able to continue your education?
Jesse Raudales: No, I had a major decision to make. It was either go back home to Wilson, NC, or, walk out on faith and trust and believe in myself. So, I focused my sights on California. I did further my education on my own—learning skills and picking people's brains about different art programs like Photo shop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Quark and many more. I also became good friends with lots of printers. They would teach me and hire me to do graphics for them. Since I was already an artist I was a double treat now that I knew Graphics.
CC:  How did you get your first big break and what was it?
JR: My first major big break was creating the logo for Donald Trump's Miss USA Pageant in 2001. I had an agent, William “Dollar Bill” Waller. He contracted the job for me.  It was cool watching the show and seeing what I had created on TV.
CC: Statistically, Blacks and Hispanics graduate from high school at a disproportionately lower number than their White counterparts. In many larger cities, graduation rates for Blacks and Hispanics, particularly males, are less than 50%. What made you the exception rather than the rule? 
JR: I had a great role model in a teacher, Rodrick Taylor. I listened to him. He always told me that he believed in me and he helped me get to where I wanted to be. He gave me hope.  You do not have to fail and be part of the statistics. You have to want to change and become somebody. Focus, Focus, Focus or Lose Focus! That's what I always say.
CC: Do you feel it is your responsibility to be a role model to others?
JR: Yes, I do because I have a son and I am attached to children because of my Olympic Painting "Peace for The Children of The World."  So, I am a role model. Everybody who is an adult is a role model—all teachers, parents, etc.  We are all role models--especially "WE" who are in the public eye or celebrities.
CC: What is some advice that you would give to a student that wants to be an artist, however, all the parent can think about is the term "starving artist?"
JR: You must have some type of income because no one is going to buy your work just because you think it's great! Art is a luxury--not a necessity. If you do not make a name for yourself, you will not make it in the art world. I have a graphics company, "Raudales Designs," and, I make a living with it as well as my art shows. I cannot and will not be a starving artist.  Always have a back-up plan. Always get your education.
CC: What is Jesse doing these days? What are some of your upcoming projects?
JR:  I have illustrated a new book for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance in celebration of their 110th anniversary. In addition to creating artwork for fashion tees, Keds tennis shoes, skateboards, etc, I have two different Art Shows scheduled for late 2009 and early 2010 in Washington, D.C. One is with famous artist, Mr. Charles Bibbs. I want to model my career after Mr. Bibbs because he is a great father, husband and artist. That show is being organized by Mr. Tarue Brooks. The other is being organized by Thomas Cardwell of Washington D.C. Both shows are in the beginning stages and sponsors are more than welcome.  I will release my Obama series at one of my Art Shows. My last few Art Shows were hosted by Jermaine Jackson, Terrence Howard, Tommy Ford and Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. I always have lots of celebrities and political figures present. Additionally, I have been asked to be a guest speaker at the 100 Black Men event in October in Durham, NC.
Jesse Raudales, an official 2006 Olympic Artist, is a modern-day Michelangelo. Jesse is an inspiration as well as an artist who inspires. Mr. Raudales, thanks for helping to keep art alive!