A Splash of Color: Alum Jubenal Rodriguez’s Mural Work is Enlivening the Lakeshore

Posted July 22, 2021 in Alumni, Illustration

KCAD alum Jubenal Rodriguez ('14, BFA Illustration) has been staying busy since graduating, from painting murals to freelance graphic design work.

A man holding a paint brush creating a mural on the side of a shipping containerKCAD alum Jubenal Rodriguez puts the finishing touches on a mural created on the side of a shipping container in Pere Marquette Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline (image courtesy of Jubenal Rodriguez)

By working a wide array of creative jobs, Rodriguez has established himself freelancing in both fields and continues to grow through being versatile. He created the logo for the candy shop Sugar Rush Dulce as well as the new badge for West Michigan Soccer Training, showing his adaptable strengths in color and custom typography extend to graphic design and branding.

logos for the brand sugar rush and the soccer organization west michigan soccer training Logos Rodriguez created for Sugar Rush candy shop and the West Michigan Soccer Training organization (images courtesy of Jubenal Rodriguez)

Yet, mural work is his ultimate passion. When asked about his process, Rodriguez says “I love bouncing off ideas with my clients. During brainstorming stages, we not only bond together but this allows for a better understanding of what their vision is. This makes it easier for when I start sketching and picking the right color palette. After the design concept is complete I then bring it to life in Illustrator. What drives the process is knowing that people will vibe with the mural at the end.” 

He strives to have a clean and inclusive design style. “When dealing with subject matter, it's very important to make sure that my ideas feed all types of cultures, ages and moods.”

This is evident in his body of mural work, including his most recent work for The Deck, a beachfront restaurant at Pere Marquette Park on Lake Michigan which has expanded its beach beer garden. The mural features the large, bold and curving custom “Muskegon” lettering in lush green and outlined in cream floating over a sun with lively red and orange rays abounding in the background of the mural. The entire mural radiates summer and the joy of getting out to the beach to soak in some rays after a long winter and a long year. The mural seems to capture the collective excitement of a community coming out of the pandemic’s shadow and into a new season of freedom and fun.

mural depicting the word Muskegon in stylized letters

man wearing earphone painting on the side of a shipping container

Man painting on the side of a shipping container(images courtesy of Jubenal Rodriguez)

Among Rodriguez's other mural work is the “Keep Muskegon Funky” mural for the Rake Beer Project of downtown Muskegon, located outside in their Beer Garden. The piece features a bright color palette with flourishing florals in reds, yellows, and pinks against a background of blues with the flowing custom “Keep Muskegon Funky” lettering weaving between the graphics.

Mural reading keep muskegon funky in decorative text

in progress mural reading keep muskegon funky in decorative text(images courtesy of Jubenal Rodriguez)

Another of his murals on corner of Third and Monroe in Muskegon shows four African American youth looking upward with heads held high as they seem to ponder how their futures will shape the world. The work features a signature Jubenal Rodriguez color palette of flourishing, bright, and vibrant colors which make the mural come alive with excitement and anticipation to anyone viewing it.

man standing in front of a mural of children playing basketball

black and white outlines of a mural of youth playing

man sitting on a scaffolding working on a large mural on the side of a building(images courtesy of Jubenal Rodriguez)

Ultimately, Rodriguez hopes his murals bring joy and happiness to viewers and wants to inspire the next generation to use their own creativity.

Rodriguez has more mural projects on the horizon, each with its own unique challenge, but in everything he creates, his goal remains the same:

“I want to keep making anyone that sees my work feel happy.”

See more of Jubenal Rodriguez's work on his Facebook page.

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