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🎵 IT070: Step Out
✏️ Maria Rodriguez
🗓 23.08.20

Maria is an illustrator from Van Nuys, California and currently based in Portland, Oregon.

Hey Maria. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I picked songs that inspired a sense of confidence after walking home from work, but really this is meant to be enjoyed no matter where you’re walking to. There’s something so powerful when you’re walking down the street and listening to a bop. I hope that others find the fun in it and through the sheer energy of feeling confident, make people get out of the way. I know we’re
living in the time of Covid so they could be getting out of the way because of that, but it could be both.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I usually start with a line of direction or just an overall shape I like and go from there. In this case I put on this playlist, knew where I wanted my figure, and went for it.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

Frank Ocean’s “Endless” is one of my favorite projects. Its a 45 minute video of him building a staircase with the 18 tracks playing in the background. It’s an interesting visual and the music is melancholic and beautiful.

Endless – Frank Ocean
2016, Def Jam Recordings

I also have such a deep attachment to Chicano Batman’s album Cycles of Existential Rhyme. The cover is reminiscent of Spanish language music in the 70s. When I first saw it my only point of reference for older music were my grandparents and parents so I asked them about it and it turned out, it’s a modern band. I’ve been a big fan since.

Cycles of Existential Rhyme – Chicano Batman
2014, El Relleno Records ‎

What did you listen to growing up?

My parents like most Latinx parents would blast music all the time. And extra loud for those Saturday 7am morning house cleaning days. I hated it. It became a reminder of a chore. Then as you are doing the chore you catch yourself singing along. It’s kind of funny. That being said, my parents dictated my music for a bit until I was introduced to other things in school. In middle school it was a lot of R&B and pop and in high school I entered a pretentious phase thanks to my Uncle Eddie until I realized that all music has value and should be enjoyed regardless of genre.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

I currently am really into Rina Sawayama’s latest album Sawayama. Since Covid and everything it’s unveiled, I have a dedicated Rina time. It’s super reminiscent of the early 2000s which I love so, it makes the scream-singing-along feel extra good.

I’ve also been enjoying Roots Manuva, Anderson .Paak, Dorian Electra, Diana Ross, Y La Bamba, and La Santa Cecilia.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

With the world changing and the illustration world with it a lot of it personally is figuring out what role I want to take in the art world.

Where can we find you?

You can find me @Sparkykneecap on Twitter or Instagram and you
can view my portfolio at sparkykneecap.com

Thanks Maria!

Rico Nasty - Big Titties (feat. Baauer and EarthGang) / Joey Purp - Girls @ (feat. Chance the Rapper) / Phony Ppl - Fkn Around (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) / KAYTRANADA - 10% / Rina Sawayama - Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys) / Little Simz - Offence / Beastie Boys - Ch-Check It Out / Eve - Let Me Blow Ya Mind / Santigold - Creator (vs. Switch & Freq Nasty) / JAY-Z - Big Pimpin' / Lil' Kim - Big Momma Thang / Kari Faux - Supplier / Lizzo - Worship / Clipse - Young Boy ︎