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Hey Everyone, meet Jerry. He has spent the last two weeks hanging out at Roots Brew Shop and has quickly become a friend to us. He was one of our four Artprize 9 artists. His work was interactive and inspiring. He had such an amazing story to tell and lesson for us to learn through his pieces. Thank you so much Jerry for joining us for Artprize this year! We sat down with Jerry and asked him a few questions.

Sum yourself up in two sentences

First and foremost I am a child of God, that’s the root of who I am. I am a child of God who expresses.

If there is advice you could give your younger self, what would it be?

*chuckles* You sayin’ I’m old!? My advice would be to embrace your limitations. Only when you do that are you free to move forward.

What is the biggest compliment you could give yourself and why?

I’m going to give you the best compliment I’ve received and how I’ve seen it manifest itself in my life. The best I’ve received is that everything I touched turned to gold. To receive those words and to believe them I’ve been able to see it pour out in my life.

What does joy mean to you? What is something that brings you joy?

Happiness to me is emotionally temporary, but joy to me is an eternal perspective. You can still mourn and have joy. You choose joy. Watching people walk into their purpose brings me joy. I’m a full time artist, but I believe my greater calling is to inspire people through my art to fulfill their purpose. That brings me joy, to see that happen.

What music are you listening to right now?

Kanye’s pandora station or my spanish remix playlist on spotify. More specifically Ibeyi; they are twins and the name Ibeyi means twins in their native language. They’re Cubans but are still identify with their African tribe. They produce english music with an African flare and cuban tones. They also speak with british accents. I’m not sure how they do all that, they’ve got a lot going on.

What are 3 things you cannot live without?

Plantains, which are NOT bananas. Dominicans love making every dish out of plantains.

Art. I don’t know if I could live in a world without art.

My close relationships which would include my family and my close mentors.

If you were a Root’s drink, what would you be?

If I wanted to be a people pleaser I would go with being an iced vanilla chai with almond milk and one shot of espresso. That’s my go-to drink. But what I really want to be is the mysterious drink of the month if there was one.

If you could trade places with one person for a whole day, who would it be and why?

I would want to switch places with someone who got to do something nobody else ever did. Whatever Armstrong went to the moon. That guy.

What trajectory are you hoping to push yourself onto? Where do you want to head?

I have a heart for people and a heart and passion for art. Those two have always been different worlds. I’ve been discovering, however, that God has made these two separate things one from the beginning. The first thing we learn about God is that He’s a creator, an artist. The next thing we learn is that we are made in His image, we are made to create as well. I’m on a path to help other people understand what it means to create whether that be through painting, or singing, or relationships or conversations; we are all co-creators in some way. I don’t want to just be a painter who paints outside the box but one who creates something that impacts people and inspires hope. I want to challenge people through art to look at who they are and who they were  created to be.

What is your favorite thing about Roots?

My favorite thing about Roots is the story about Roots. It’s almost a story of renewal. The shop is created from things that are repurposed; the floors, the furniture, the silverware, pretty much everything. I think it’s something people feel when they walk into the shop, this feeling of renewal, refresh. It’s a healthy environment that encourages people. The whole place tells a story.