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Asthma Van Decal Design Finalist: Meet Zakia Rowlett

Recently, we held a Call For Artists, where Chicago artists/designers could submit their portfolios, and a few finalists would be selected and compensated to create a mock-up of the decal that will cover our Asthma Van. After an internal vote, three finalists were selected. We are really excited to work with them and wanted to introduce each finalist over the next few days!

So with that, meet Zakia Rowlett!

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Zakia Rowlett. I got started in Graphic Design, my second semester of college. I’ve always been crafty as a child. I did things like crushing up tile and making a mosaic table top for my moms kitchen table. It was not until my second semester as a freshman that I decided to transfer to The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, after realizing the school I was currently attending was not so much for corporate design. While I attended AI I got lots of training in design fundamentals and realized the never ending avenues Graphic Design offered. I also got into screen printing which then took my creativity to new heights.

Are you from Chicago? What are a few of your favorite Chicago spots?

I’m actually from Dallas, Texas. I lived there with all of my family, then my mother and I traveled to Chicago alone, where I grew to be myself. But I was raised by Southern parents and visited Texas up until adulthood, so I feel like Texas is my spirits home. But, Chicago is where I’ve become so much of the woman I am today.

Some of my favorite spots here are: MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). The parks (Hyde Park, Garfield Park, & Humboldt Park) I really enjoy walks in the park and riding my bike! Swap-O-rama! was always excited to go there with my mom when I was younger. It was always so much going on there and they had good food… and Lake Shore Drive!

How did you find Mobile Care Chicago? How do you connect with the work and/or mission of Mobile Care?

A friend of mine sent me an email about it. Asthma runs in my family, it’s been something I’ve struggled and overcome all my life. So I immediately appreciated the mission, and thought being a part of this would be awesome.

Name a few artists who inspire you.

Lya Finston (@thehottestdjinmiami) Ruby Figueroa (@rubynacks), Paula Scher, Saul Bass, Lisa Armstrong (@lisaarmstrong) Kerry James Marshall, and Samntha Smyser (@samnthamadethat)

What is your personal mission through your work? What message do you hope to spread through art and design?

My message within my personal work usually goes back to self reflection and the topic of being a human in general but also through the lens of a black woman. I think a lot about perspective. I challenge traditional compositions by experimenting with typography, and texture. My work feels personal, but I like the viewers to have space to make their own interpretations. I have a mission to push positivity, and strength through the power of words/shape. Through my art I want people to remember that we are more than the current state of where we are on earth, there’s a lot to unravel. So I try to get in people’s minds by making them spend a little more time figuring out what things are/mean to them.

Where do you hope to end up next? What kind of projects do you hope to work on in the future? How can we find you on social media or online?

Next in life I hope to keep climbing higher in recognition from the projects I’m associated with. I want to be an important figure in Design, Environmental Issues, and Printmaking. I’ve unexpectedly walked into my journey as a full time independent artist when the Pandemic hit, which has been scary, and very empowering. It actually opened some doors for me, and now I see myself being involved in more projects pertaining to the environment, social topics that are near and dear to me, and a successful selling print maker.

You can find me on Instagram @kianije

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