Interview conducted by Kadie Sue Martin in the The Crossings’s series on creativity and diversity within Bethel University’s student body. The heart behind this series is to explore creativity in a broader sense and to be encouraged and inspired by the creatives on our campus and the things that they are doing.
Rasechaba “Rase” Jana is a freshman studying Financial Services & Accounting. His favorite place, which is coincidently the same room he normally hangs out in, is the Commuter Lounge. He enjoys running, playing football, and drawing. Most importantly, he loves sleeping in the Commuter Lounge.
How would you define creativity?
I have to think about it. . . I would define creativity as more out-of-the-box thinking and ability. It’s something that tends to be unusual and unique to the individual. It can be artsy, but it can also be practical.
How do you specifically express your creativity?
I do it mostly - well, obviously, through art most of the time. You see me drawing. Most people see me drawing in some weird place, often. I drew in the closet once for seven hours. It was a dark closet, too, so I don’t know what I was thinking. I was getting in “the mood” - you know how us artists do. Just kidding. I express creativity through subtly, too. I like some aspects being out there, but I like “obvious but not obvious” art. So, someone could understand it in a way by looking at, but then you know the actual definition of what you’re doing. If I ever drew something, the meaning of what I’m drawing is obvious to them in a way, but it’s not necessarily what I intended. Or, because people think I dress a certain way for some reason, but it’s not because of what they think.
You mentioned the way you dress - do you find that to be a creative outlet as well?
I say it’s half-and-half. If I’m not in the mood to think about it, I just throw something on. However, most of the time, dress a certain way because I like it. I don’t think to hard about it. I guess that’s a terrible answer, but that’s what I’m thinking of right now. I did forget that I used to just wear all black all the time, and then people would tell me, “honestly, Rase, before I met you, I thought you were an emo kid because you never said anything to anybody, and you would just wear all black. But, you would talk to people like you were crazy person when you knew them.” And I was like, “thanks.” Then one day over the summer I was watching this show called - I don’t remember what it was called - but it was a college show. The setting was college, and I watched these people live out their college lives as they dressed a certain way. Then boom, you have this. That’s literally what I said in my head. I said, “you know, you don’t have to be obvious about it. You could just fix it.” You can be artsy - I don’t like using the word artsy - but people are like, “Rase, you’re so artsy” since no one in my family draws. So, whenever they see me draw, they say that. The only person they compare me to is my grandma who can draw these real people. It looks awesome and amazing.
What specific things do you enjoy drawing - nature, people, etc.?
I tend to draw whatever I feel like. I mean, there’s never been something set in stone. It’s mostly whatever I want or whatever is going on in my head. I like to take a new skill to accomplish whatever I want to portray. So, most of the time I don’t know what I’m drawing - how to draw what I’m drawing, specifically people. I just started that, but I wanted to draw something that looked like a human being. Or, I draw trees, which are baseline. I never drew a tree, but I had to learn. I drew anime characters a lot when I was a kid, so that was happening.
At what age did you find that you liked drawing and were good at it?
I’ve enjoyed it since I was five. I would draw comics with my cousin, who was way better at drawing than me. Everyone told him so. I liked doing it, though, so I kept it up. I always dreamed of becoming better than him because even though he was younger than me he got all the attention, but I don’t draw for that reason anymore. I’m not doing this for childhood endeavors. I started doing it when I was five so, and I think the first thing I drew was for my father. They had just gotten divorced so he moved all the way across the sea, and I didn’t even know - no one told me. I was like, “oh, my brother’s going to Malawi.” By then, I knew my dad lived in Malawi so I drew something and was like, “give it to him.” So, that’s the first thing I drew.
What did you draw him a picture of?
It was one of those children - the father is holding the son’s hand. There’s green and the sun in the corner of the picture. You know, one of those ones.
How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist since you started at 5? I’d say it’s gotten better. It’s not corner suns anymore. We’ve branched off from that. I’m kidding - I have nothing against corner suns by the way. It’s just normally kids do corner suns. So, obviously, I’v gotten better, more specific; more refined about what I’m doing and what it’s for.
What are your preferences when it comes to drawing - monochromatic, utensils, etc?
Let’s see, I never color anything for some reason. I just prefer not to, but I just use a mechanical pencil and paper, and I do it. It’s easy access. I don’t have to look for it, and plus, learning to use all those specific brushes and pencils. . . Obviously, I’ve done other things like painting, but having to know all that - I don’t know. I never consider myself an artist so I’m not going to learn everything - I’m just doing it as a hobby.
Do you have a certain time of day that you draw or any kind of routine?
Mostly whenever. When I came here, there was a specific time when I would
go to SG. I would always, after school around 2 o’clock, I would be there until
4, and I would be drawing. But then I stopped that because I almost passed
out on the table - too tired for no reason. It made me extra tired. It was
calming, but by the time I came out of there I felt like I didn’t want to talk to
anyone. So I was like, “you know what? I don’t know if this is good for me.
So, I’m just going to stop.” Haven’t been there since. Plus, I don’t drink coffee
anymore. Well, I do drink coffee, though - black coffee actually wakes me up.
No coffee has ever done that for me, ever, not once but black coffee,
straight-up. Guess I drink coffee now even though I don’t like the taste of it
Where do you find inspiration for your drawings?
What I’m drawing has mostly to do with what I’m thinking about. I don’t know where - I mean, at the point, it’s just whatever comes up. If I see something that I want to recreate, I probably will. Or, if I had an idea because someone said something or did something - whatever happened around me - I will draw it, hopefully as soon as possible. I’ll forget later if I don’t.
Are there anyways you explore your creativity on camus now that you don’t draw in SG anymore?
It has to be campus related? So, I don’t know. I like drawing wherever - I never had a set place. There’s places that - I don’t like singing in front of people. My family tends to have gifts in certain areas so they’re always either really smart, really good singers, really good at certain sports, or really good at drawing or something, but drawing is rare. Singing is the most popular because everyone sings for some reason. They’re all known for singing, like my aunt. She’s like, not famous, but is known for her singing. So, I sing, but I’m not a singer so I only do it as a pastime. I like doing it in a quiet place where no one’s going to hear me because I’m not doing it in front of people. My brother does it on stage since he’s on the worship team for his youth group. But then I sing in a place that I will not tell you, for discretion purposes. I’m just kidding. I like drawing best probably in places I’m comfortable, like the ER. I don’t bring any instruments here so, yeah.
Oh, so you play an instrument? I played guitar for about two years, and then I got sick so it was hard to focus. I was still learning so I took classes because I wanted to learn in a way that wasn’t sporadic. I wanted to know guitar in a way that seemed linear, like you know you’re progressing in an obvious way. Then those classes I couldn’t take anymore because my mom couldn’t afford it, or something like that. So, I tried learning on YouTube because before I was taking classes and learning off YouTube, but then I got sick. I also played viola from middle school to high school, but I only played viola because I wanted to learn to play guitar. Then I could tell my mom, “hey, I know strings, Mom. You should buy me another instrument,” or something like that. Not many instruments other than that. I did do piano, but I’m not a pianist - I know nothing about piano. If you threw sheet music in front of me, it’s all muscle memory. So, technically, I don’t know how to play the piano.
What genres of music do you like? Let’s see, specific songs or in general? Because, you like country music, but I don’t. I’m not hating on your country-music-loving-self, but I’m just not open to it. I’m not going bash country, but I guess I just don’t see it the way other people see it. Well, at least my friends listen to country music. A lot of them especially love Taylor Swift, but I almost never listen to Taylor Swift. I’m not saying I don’t like her, but I just don’t know. . . Everyone listens to her! I was like, “since when did she have such a huge fanbase that’s a part of my life?” It grew out of nowhere. I love hymns, though. I never heard the hymn-hymns for what they were, but there’s these two singers named Shane & Shane. They did renditions of hymns and psalms, and I would always listen to those all the time. I love hymns! My church even did - like they never sang a lot of hymns - but then they sang “He Will Hold Me Fast,” and it was great. I really love hymns. I’m not saying anything against contemporary worship - I also like contemporary music. There’s an aspect about the words of hymns that I am able to connect more with. So, I really like hymns as well as renditions by Shane & Shane. I never really had a particular genre that I really liked. I like all types of music, except country. I’m sorry. Well, it’s probably not true that I like all types of music because I’ve never heard heavy metal so I don’t even know what it really is. Like rock - I never really knew what rock meant. Rock from the 60s and 70s doesn’t sound the same as today.
Any final words for me or the Crossing’s literary audience? If she eats cake with a spoon instead of a fork, don’t put a ring on it. Stay safe.