NBCLX is teaming up with artists from across the country to create re-imagined digital “I Voted” stickers for 2020. The latest artist we’re spotlighting is just 11 years old.
Restee “Roc” Collins, who lives in Los Angeles, said he was inspired by Black Lives Matter to create his piece, which he named “Patriot.” He explained to NBCLX’s Fernando Hurtado how he came up with the design, and what young kids like him can do to encourage others to vote in this election.
You can find Collins’ art on Instagram at @rocstoneart and on his website. And to find his digital sticker and our entire collection of artist-created "I Voted" stickers, search “LXtion2020” on Giphy. Go vote, then share them on your social platforms!
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Collins: My name is Restee "Roc" Collins IV. And I am the founder of Rocstone Art. And I paint original abstract paintings.
Hurtado: How old are you?
Collins: I'm eleven years old.
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Hurtado: How long have you been doing that for?
Collins: I've been painting for about two years. And a half.
Hurtado: And what do you like about painting?
Collins: [What] I like about painting [is] that I get to choose my colors and how bright the colors are.
Hurtado: I'm really curious to hear why you started.
Collins: I learned on my own. I was just in my room, bored at home, and I just decided to paint. My dad got the tools and we just decided to paint... Painting is relaxing for me because of just how peaceful it is, and just how you can be in your own zone. And you just know don't know anybody's there – you're just in your own zone.
Hurtado: Can you tell me a little bit about your painting and the process behind it? Why does it look the way it does?
Collins: I chose that painting because it's very helpful for you to go out and vote. And for you to exercise your right. The medium I used on that one is acrylic. And the painting colors I used on it [are] red, white, blue and I added black because Black lives matter ... In the middle of my painting is the word “v-o-t-e vote.”
Hurtado: What does that word mean to you?
Collins: Not long ago, people like me didn't have the right to vote. So when I turn 18, I'm going to exercise my right to vote.
Hurtado: Why do Black lives matter? Why is that so important to you?
Collins: It's so important because the last months have been very stressful for Black people ... Black Lives Matter is so important because of how George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – of how George Floyd got murdered. And it’s just very crazy, the world that we’re living in because all this stuff has been happening like coronavirus – all this other stuff. It’s just a crazy world that we’re living in.
Hurtado: Take me back to that process of the painting. How long did it take you to make it?
Collins: It took me, well – it took me – we stopped and then went back into it. So it probably took me about 30 minutes.
Hurtado: That's it? What? OK, that's impressive.
Collins: I chose “Patriot” as the painting's name because of the colors. The football team Patriots has red, white and blue.
Hurtado: Last question for you. So, a lot of young people are going to be watching this. What message do you have for them?
Collins: I know I can't vote and I know young people like me can't vote. But we can definitely encourage our parents to vote. We can definitely encourage our sisters to vote if they're older than 18. And we can definitely wear a sticker that says “vote” on it.