Name: Jonnell ChavezAge: 25 Location: Formerly Triple D, Now West Coast Steezin’ Occupation: Designer x Creator x Graphic Artist Kicks Shown: Air Jordan 13 Retro CDP Website/Contact: www.JONNELLCHAVEZ.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite her tiny frame (she's 5'2") Jonnell Chavez is nothing to take lightly. Self-described as "sexy with a dash of ratchet," the half latina beauty has not only become a design heavyweight in the male dominated graphic arts field (you might recognize her work from Draya Michele's 'FINE ASS GIRLS' campaign) but she's also beginning to take her design talents to that clothing game with the release of a small collection of items that have created quite a buzz...inside and outside of the Mary Jane crowd.
We sat down with Jonnell to talk motivation, inspiration and 'Ratchet Season' all while she rocked a mean pair of AJ 13's.
CL: For those who may not be familiar, tell us a bit about Jonnell Chavez.
JC: An artist and designer. A bit outside the box and non-traditional. I’m weird… I embrace my weirdness… it works for me.
CL: One has to be quite the creative personality to do what you do. Talk to us about how you got into the design game and how it’s changed, for you, as your business has grown from infancy.
JC: I fell into it actually. Originally I wanted to pursue audio engineering, however, I took an instant love once exposed to design. That was many moons ago…when I was designing flyers for $45.00.
Design is constantly evolving, as am I. I have recently made a shift to move away from designing nightlife flyers to focus more on business branding such as logos, packaging, websites, etc. You can see by visiting my website =) jonnellchavez.com
CL: LOL! There goes that branding! You’ve really had a hand in creating a number of eye-catching designs. Which would you say was a design that has helped put a stamp on who you are as a creative eye?
JC: I think my design style period is what has captured people. It’s feminine yet, not super frilly and girly. Recently, what really solidified things was designing the FINE ASS GIRLS street wear brand for Draya Michele of Basketball Wives.
CL: Websites, logos, full-scale graphics – you pretty much do it all. Why did you decide to go into business for yourself instead of taking your talents elsewhere?
JC: Welp, design is the only thing I have stuck with in life. I got fired or quit every job I had before so one day I said, "I’m just do this from home, it’s got to work," and it worked! It took a lot of prayer and patience, though.
CL: Finish this sentence – “My personal style is ____________.”
JC: Street Chic. Sexy with a dash of ratchet. Hence, the name for my line's second collection, 'Ratchet Season.'
CL: Speaking of your line, even with the number of clients you’ve generated as a graphic artist, you’ve still managed to start your own line of apparel. How did that come about?
JC: I originally designed and started planning at the top of last year, but my designs were too intricate so I pushed it to the side. One day, I woke up and said, "It’s now or never. I have to do this." I just made the switch from doing 48-hour projects [for my graphic design company] to five day turnarounds or more so that both businesses can run smoothly.
CL: I loved your take on The-Dream’s hit with your “Dope Bish” tee as well as your simple take on the Mary Jane/Bandana combination crew. It seems as if music might play a role in your creativity when it comes to your graphics for the line. Would that be a correct assumption?
If so, how much inspiration comes from certain songs?
JC: Thank you! Music does play a role in my designs, however, I didn’t even know The-Dream had a song titled "Dope Bish" until, like, a month ago. LOL!
My next collection, 'Ratchet Season,' has been inspired from everything we deem ratchet from the early 90’s. I love playing with bandanna prints, gold...the whole west coast vibe [is an inspiration]. I have an entire 'Ratchet Season' playlist on Spotify that consists of all music that inspired this collection. There is a lot of Tupac on there. He was a real G. Ha!
CL: You're getting ahead of me again! Seeing as how you’ve just made a big move to Los Angeles, what can we expect from you in the next few months?
JC: AHHHH and it’s been the most hectic move ever, but well worth it! I will be releasing 'Ratchet Season' at the top of April and I expect to drop a few exclusive items as well that will be available on JonnellChavez.com.
My creative studio will be expanding with the addition of four new creative minds, so that’s something I'm looking forward to!
CL: Obviously, we love sneakers. What are a few of your favorite pairs to rock?
JC: Chucks, of course! LOL! any color is cool long as they are still G and not cheesy. I also love Nike Dunks. I think those are really cute if worn the right way.
*Writer's Note: Jonnell was originally supposed to rock a custom pair of Chuck's in our shoot, but they we uncompleted as of our call time.
CL: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
JC: Just a reminder that 'Ratchet Season' will be out at the top of April! Visit my website JONNELLCHAVEZ.com and follow me on my social networks! You can find me on twitter, IG and Tumblr @JonnellChavez.
Thank you so much!
Photo/Graphics: Jason Sanders of WMS Photography Make-Up: Jamie Dionne Shirt: 'Ratchet Season' by Jonnell Chavez - Coming Spring 2013.