Getting lost in Celeste Rojas’s art feels like a synthy, kaleidoscopic fever dream you don’t want to wake up from. Neon colors, metallic textures and retro motion graphic techniques mesh together into satisfying surrealism. Drawing from design elements from the early ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s — her work feels both anachronistic and distinctly zeitgeist-y. It’s the work of someone who clearly has a pulse of what’s new and trending in the current design world, while pulling in loads of inspiration from the past. And it’s all self-taught. Celeste — who also goes by Lec-Say-Jer (Cel Rojas spelt backwards) — laughs when she mentions that most of her design knowledge and graphic motion skills come from scouring YouTube tutorials. “My friends that did go to college or who are currently studying to get their graphic design degrees are like, ‘Celeste you know more than I do. You know how to do this, and we haven’t even learned that yet,'” she says.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Celeste recently relocated to Austin where she’s focusing her energy on building out her design portfolio, connecting with other creatives in the community and launching her DJ career (another creative outlet that she’s taught herself).
We’re so excited to have partnered with Celeste for the launch of our exclusive digital gift cards to wrap up the year. She’s whipped up eight hypnotic designs for you to choose from, so you can send your friends and fam some SLX love in style. Get to know a bit more about Celeste below and be sure to follow her on Instagram here!
First up: what helps you tap into your creativity?
I think especially living in Austin, there’s so much art everywhere. I’ll be walking and think, “Oh, I really love those colors together.” Also before I start a project I like getting on Pinterest and seeing the new trends that are happening. For the most part I just try to dive into what’s happening and what’s new.
Do you have any artists you really admire?
There’s soo much out there, it’s hard to pick one person. I definitely have a spot for women graphic designers. There’s this girl based in Dallas who’s a DJ – RizKilla. She does 3D motion graphics and every time I see her stuff I’m just like “damn, that’s so good.”
Also, one of my best friend’s Neff is also a Graphic Designer and he’s my go-to when I have any trouble with designs or coming up with ideas. To be honest, I wouldn’t categorize him as a Graphic Designer, but as an Artist in general. Everything he touches turns to gold whether it be murals, graphics, music, making furniture…the list can go on.
What about music – what songs or albums do you have on repeat right now?
Definitely SZA – I Hate U. It’s really bad how many times I play that a day. I’m also really into Isaiah Rashad right now. And I’m really big on Soundcloud too, just different edits of music.
Here at SLX, our mission statement is to help the Latinx community feel seen, supported and celebrated in all our ingenuity and creativity. Who was the first person in your life — whether it was a celebrity, a TV show character, or someone you knew personally — that made you feel seen, supported, and celebrated?
I would definitely say that the first person that comes to mind is my mom. She had me at a really young age, but ever since I was little she’s never ever put something in my head like, “You should do this or by this age you need to do this.” With all my goals and dreams that I’ve had, she’s always helped push me there. Especially with me not going to school — of course she wanted me to — but she was never really hard on me like, “If you don’t go to school, then you can’t be here.” She just helped me find my passion. I think she really trusted me, she was like, “I’m gonna let her do her thing, she’ll be good.” If it wasn’t for her I’d probably be doing something I wasn’t happy with.
What makes you most proud of being Latina and how does your culture influence your work?
I’m proud to be a Latina for so many reasons. We wear our pride every day and have broken so many barriers. Our culture isn’t just amazing music or delicious food, but it represents beauty, family, love and most importantly hard work. Especially when it comes to our community, we really look out for one another.
Being a Latina influences my work on so many levels. When making designs it is essential for me to touch my audience in a way that makes them feel heard, whether it be something that is currently going on in the world or something to simply make them feel appreciated/good.I want to make cool/fun graphics, but most importantly I want to help shine light on important topics within our communities and there are so many ways to do that. I choose to do it through music and design.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘community’?
Building off of that, what does community mean to you?
Community means being able to come together for something we all believe in — whether it’s art, politics, the Latinx community or even just a group of women. It digs down to shared roots and bringing people together based on something connective.
How would you describe your work personally?
I’m still learning so much, but I would say my work is very vibrant and colorful. I love using motion, especially on social media. People just scroll, scroll, scroll…but if there’s a graphic that moves and has amazing colors, that’s what catches people’s eyes.
When do you feel most in sync with your highest self?
I think definitely when I’m getting sun. Vitamin D is so important, and just feeling the air and heat on your skin. Being outside and being in nature – whether it’s running or being on a lake or hiking – it just taps me into myself. I’m a Cancer, a water sign, so I need to have that element of nature.
What’s something you did recently that made you proud of yourself?
It would be DJing recently. I’ve DJed a good amount of times, but I still get a bit nervous. I recently got asked to DJ at Gabriela’s Downtown which is Latina-owned! It was truly a beautiful experience being able to DJ in a woman-owned restaurant. It was a great experience and the push I needed to get more comfortable playing longer sets. I can’t wait to DJ more next year — 2022 I’m coming for you!
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
That I’m nurturing. When it comes to my friends, family or boyfriend, I feel like I really do have that nurturing, mother instinct.
Last but not least, what are your favorite SLX products on the marketplace?