Meet the Artist

Jocelyn Garcia

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Hey! My name is Jocelyn Garcia! I'm a Junior Graphic Design student at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and I am also a proud Latina freelance artist based in Ridgefield Park, NJ with hopes of becoming a UX/UI designer. As of late, I spend most of my time studying, working, painting murals, watching anime, or getting involved in some new hobby!

I started my art journey when I was about 7 creating comics of original characters. I watched tons and tons of anime and would sit in front of the computer practicing how to draw sailor moon eyes for hours on end. This was clearly my favorite pastime.

Jocelyn and one of her murals in Brewster Park
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Nacimiento de mi cuerpo y mi alma, 2021
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Mal de ojo en el jardin , 2017
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Keith Haring but bad, 2021

It wasn’t until I was admitted into the National Arts Honor Society here at RPHS that I realized how much I loved being a part of the art community. My love for art had expressed itself in mediums ranging from photography, sculpture, linocuts, printing, drawing, even teaching art!

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My work currently revolves around watercolor and pencil illustrations that are expressive in color, feeling, and sometimes with a focus on mycology. Some of my inspirations are from artists like Jamie Green and Miranda Zimmerman.

My advice for new and all artists out there; Believe that you can and you’re halfway there. It’s about 40% doing and 60% believing in yourself. Oh! And don’t forget to take breaks! Sometimes we get so absorbed into our own work we forget to eat, stay hydrated and sleep. Take of yourself and the results will shine through!

Jocelyn and one of her murals in Brewster Park

Ridgefield Park's 2022 Artist Laureate

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George Cooke

George has been a resident of Ridgefield Park for over 50 years. He has been interested in wood carving for most of his life and was self-taught until he discovered his real passion for it when he began attending the American Woodcarving School in Wayne, New Jersey over 25 years ago, where he has also taught classes for several years. George has always sought to hone his skills and challenge himself by attending a variety of classes and seminars including Geisler Moroder Woodcarving School in Austria, studying in Canada with Benoi Deschenes, and in Maine with British woodcarver Chris Pye. 

He extended his artistic skillset by studying stone carving in New York City for about 5 years with Ailene Fields and studying woodturning in Pennsylvania with David Ellsworth. While in Italy he saw examples of clothing carved from wood and thus began his fascination with representing everyday, ‘disposable’ items in the relative permanence of wood and stone.


 

Although George has always considered this a hobby, he has been selected to participate in a number of juried Art Shows, as well as several group exhibitions, showcasing his work and talent alongside many professional artists. George was commissioned to carve this large limestone sculpture in McGowan Park, where it currently resides in the center of the community garden. He has also donated several sculptures to the Village which can be viewed in various parks and on Main Street including one stone and two wood sculptures in McGowan Park, one wood sculpture in Frank White Park, two wood carvings plus a small scale sculpture in Fellowship Park, large pencils in rainbow colors displayed on Main Street, and a pending installation of a sculpture consisting of a stack of 5 limestone books to be displayed outside the Ridgefield Park Library.

Past Laureate- 2021

Frank Donaruma

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Frank Donaruma is Ridgefield Park’s Artist Laureate for 2021. In this role, Frank serves as an ambassador for arts and culture—one who represents artists and engages with the community to promote and advocate for the advancement of all the arts in our Village.

Frank has been a resident of Ridgefield Park for 14 years and is a member of the Ridgefield Park Arts Association. He has been a professional French horn player for over 40 years. During his illustrious career, he performed as the lead French horn player for the American Ballet Theater and as principal French horn for the Queens Symphony, Kansas City Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony. He was also 1st French horn for the Baltimore Symphony and 2nd French horn for the Metropolitan Opera.

Frank has worked with notable celebrities including Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, Paul Anka, Rosie O’Donnell, Jay Leno, and Jimmy Kimmel. He has toured with The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ukraine Ballet, and performed during the New York seasons of The Martha Graham Dance Company, Stuttgart Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet and The Cuban National Ballet. Frank has also performed in Broadway shows including My Fair Lady, 1776, A Doll’s Life, Oliver, Shogun, and The Education of Hyman Kaplan. He has recorded with Duke Ellington and the Charles Mingus Band and has made many recordings for TV jingles and films such as REDS and Cape Fear to name a few.

The Village of Ridgefield Park is extremely fortunate to have a musician of Frank’s caliber as its inaugural Artist Laureate for 2021.

Meet the Artist

Guillermo Lopez-Pastas

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Hello! My name is Guillermo Lopez.  I'm from Colombia but was raised in NY before I came to New Jersey. I am 32 years old and I have a degree in industrial design from Montclair State University.

Art has been a huge part of my life since I was a young kid. Whether I was reading comic books, visiting museums, or viewing paintings and sculptures created by the Old Masters, I was always drawn to the art world and trying to learn more about it.

One great piece of advice I have for new artists is to first enjoy the process of creation; don't get too caught up in the technique. You will slowly perfect your skill later so make it a part of you and make it unique!

Guillermo's mural at Veteran's Park represents his fond memories of Ridgefield Park High School.