Interview with Rolando Venegas





Born in Fullerton, California and now residing in Honolulu, Hawaii, Rolando is an Artist and Graphic Arts Designer. At a young age he was exposed to skateboarding, surfing, multiple genres of music, and modern graffiti art. In 2012, he studied graphic design at the California University at Riverside.

Today, Rolando’s work is the compilation of all his past experiences. His love of music and street art come together and can be seen in the clean lines of the abstract and urban style art that he creates.






During its recent trip to Hawaii for PoW! WoW! 2017, Music On Walls had the chance to meet Rolando Venegas while he was working on his mural "Today Was A Good Day".


Hi Rolando, how was the experience of participating to PoW WoW? 

It was such an awesome experience. The whole Pow!Wow! family is such an amazing, humble, and talented group of people to be around. It’s really cool to watch the family grow every year. You are surrounded by people that make you want to create great work. My wall was right next to Defer and Prime and just watching these guys work and talking story with them was an experience of its own. Before most of us began painting, a cultural experience was organized to teach us about the Hawaiian culture. The cultural experience took me to a place of serenity and showed me a whole new respect for the island. Once painting started, I got to meet some of the coolest people, MoW being one and I got to hear some awesome stories as to what brought people out here and what inspires them. To witness and be a part of something that unites the community is a very humbling experience.



 Can you tell MoW why you chose to create artwork inspired by music?

Music has always been a big part of my life. I have been playing drums for around 18 years and dabbled in piano, bass and guitar. My parents listened to a lot of records and rock and roll when I was growing up. So music was always around me and as I got older, I was always driven by both art and music and I wanted to figure out a way to combine the 2. I have been drawing my boom box character for a few years and recently (the past year or so) started studying typography and hand lettering. One day, I was just writing out ideas and came up with the name “StereoType” and with that, I mix music lyrics with typography. That was my “aha moment” for the type of art I wanted to create.




© by Brandon Shigeta



Could you tell MoW why you chose to represent "Today Was A Good Day" ? What is the story behind the artwork? 

First, living in Honolulu, it’s always a good day and second, I had that lyric lingering in my head for a good year. I sketched it out a couple of times and I had been trying to figure out the right place for it.  And when I was offered a wall for Pow! Wow! Hawai’i! I knew that it would be the perfect place and time to put that piece up for the community to enjoy.


Is there any other specific word you’d like to say about your mural? 

“StereoType” - There is so much negativity going on in the world right now and what I hope to accomplish with the work I do and the meaning behind my work, contradicts what most people would think of when then hear stereotype. The goal behind pieces I create, is to give people a good vibe and let them walk away with a smile on their face.

Do you often create artworks inspired by music? 

Yes. I try to incorporate music in my work as much as I can. In most sketches I create, I throw my Boom Box Boy in there. If I am working on a piece that is not music related, I at least need to have some good music going in the background to inspire me. I listen to different genres based on what I am creating.

Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians?

Definitely. I plan on creating much more work based on music and musicians. I have a few pieces in mind that I would like to get on canvas or a wall. One of my next pieces will come from a 2013 song.

Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?

Music has always been a huge influence for me and it is more than just sound. Different music gives me different feelings and has always played a major role in my life. Growing up wasn’t always easy and music and art were always my outlets. When I was growing up, every Saturday, my mom would blast rock or blues at 7 a.m. to get us up to clean the house. I grew up to The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elvis Presley, B.B. King and all kinds of other good music. I got older and I went to punk shows and be sore the next day due to mosh pits. When I was 17 I got my first drum set and would spend hours learning beats and painting in my little studio that my friend and I built. I would take my broken cymbals and use them to mask my canvas or take drum stick, dip them in paint and throw it at the canvas. Now that I am a little older, I listen to Jazz and Blues to get the day started and will switch it up after coffee cup number 2 or 3. I believe that music and art go hand in hand, just in different forms of expression. I don’t think that I could ever do one without the other.

What was the music you listened to during the making of your mural?

I listened to a lot of different genres when I paint. I call it my “Rol Jams” playlist on Spotify. It has everything from the Rolling Stones to Ice Cube to Dion and the Belmonts to Less than Jake. My playlist has Rock, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Oldies, RnB, Punk, Jazz, Pop, Ska, pretty much anything that has a feel good vibe to it.


What is the song you liked the most lately?

As far as song, I have been digging John Legend “Start a Fire” from the La La Land soundtrack. The mash up of jazz, electronic and RnB is refreshing to hear.

What album?

I don’t have a particular album, I like to mix it up a lot and keep it fresh.



What was the last gig you went to?

Last gig I went to was Steve Aoki at Makers and Tasters here in Hawai’I to close out Pow!Wow!Hawai’i! Prior to That was the JazzFest in New Orleans the weekend the Red Hot Chili Peppers were on stage & before that were the Dirty Heads in at the Republik here in Honolulu.

Are you a musician?

Yes, I play drums. I got into piano, bass and guitar for a while but drums was always my primary instrument.