Indy Like a Local: Jingo de la Rosa

Who is Jingo?

Illustrator, art educator, and teaching artist.

Q. How did you get interested in drawing and illustrations?

A. Like any other artist, I got into drawing when I was a kid. I grew up in the Philippines during a period of political and economical uncertainty, all because of a 30-year dictatorship that ended shortly after I was born. We had rolling blackouts every night, so there was nothing really for me to do but draw beside a lamp. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, but those moments had my imagination going and what has mostly fueled my interest to this day.

Q. What local organizations and/or businesses have you worked with?

A. I’ve worked with several local organizations, including Butler University, Indy Eleven, and Arts for Learning, among many others. I still have relationships with many of these organizations, which I’m very grateful for. I also have ongoing roles with CreativeMornings and ArtSpeak.

Q. Do you have any illustrations that the public can view?

A. I do! I recently redesigned one of the walls at the NCAA Hall of Champions (pictured). It’s a mural that showcases dreams and ambitions of young people from around the city, while also empowering visitors to have conversations about pursuing their dreams. It’s a statement that dreams matter, regardless of who you are or where you’re from.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Q. Is there one project that stands out to you, maybe one that exceeded your expectations or that you’re just really proud of?

A. The mural at the NCAA Hall of Champions definitely stands out, since I was given complete creative freedom throughout the entire process. Growing up in the Philippines, I used to watch NCAA basketball games on TV. It’s absolutely surreal to think that I now have work in their museum!

Another project I’m extremely proud of would be last year’s chalk mural on Indy Do Day. Myself and a team of wonderful volunteers from Borshoff worked on a mural on the near-east side, and it was a lot of fun! Everyone was just excited to be there, which made it a very memorable project in my book. Unfortunately, it was only a temporary mural, so it’s not there anymore.

Q. Is there a certain object/scene/person you especially like to draw?

A. I love drawing people, whether it’s by myself in coffee shops or in different public places around the city with Urban Sketchers Indianapolis. But I also love drawing moments that make us human. My work revolves around the human experience, whether it’s the joy of seeing a sunrise or the unbearable pain of heartbreak and loss. I’m just a big fan of people, I suppose!

Q. Do you have a dream client you’d love to work with, either here in Indy or nationally?

A. I’m a big Indy sports fan, so working with the Pacers and the Colts would be an absolute dream.

Q. How did your Drawn event, during which musicians perform while artists draw them, come about?

A. Drawn came about from a void that I felt I needed to fill. I love both live music and figure drawing, so I thought, why not both? It’s become a great venue for everyone to stretch their creativity, for musicians to try new things with their music and for visual artists to sharpen their observational skills. And most important of all, it’s been a place where people can meet each other in a non-intimidating way. The community aspect of it has been the primary motivating factor of it all.

Q. You’re a “teaching artist.” Who do you teach, and what do you teach them?

A. I teach everyone, from the hobbyist to the professional, from the young to the young at heart. I teach mostly visual storytelling and urban sketching. I lead workshops around the state of Indiana through Arts for Learning, since I’m in their roster of teaching artists. I’m also a workshop instructor for Urban Sketchers Chicago, where I teach adults how to sketch in an urban setting.

Q. How long have you lived in Indy?

A. I’ve lived in Indy for 14 years. I’ve lived short term in different places in between, but somehow, I keep ending up here. This is definitely home.

Q. In which neighborhood or area do you live?

A. Right now, I live on the near-north side. But I spend most of my time on the near-east side, since I have a studio at the Circle City Industrial Complex.

Q. Where do you like to enjoy a great meal in Indy, and why?

A. There are so many great places to eat in Indy, but it’s hard to top Yats (pictured) and Love Handle. When I want something quick and affordable, I go to Yats. Everything on their menu is delicious, but my go-to choices are the chili cheese etouffee with crawfish and the B&B (half-and-half with extra bread!). I go to Love Handle when I want something a little more decadent. Their vegetarian-friendly Biscuits and Gravy are hands-down the best I’ve ever had. Their Biscuit Sliders are also great for a hearty snack.


While the food is obviously top-notch in both places, the people that work there are easily the stars of the show. You can just tell that they care about everyone who walks through their doors, and it doesn’t hurt that they know you by name.

Q. Do you have a favorite coffee shop and a place for a nightcap?

A. Asking me what my favorite Indianapolis coffee shop is like asking me who my favorite children are (I don’t even have any). They’re all amazing in their own way, and I make an effort to go to all of them. But for the sake of proximity to work, I go to either Rabble or Neidhammer on the near-east side. For a nightcap, the Chatterbox is a no-brainer. No-frills atmosphere and free live jazz during the week? Yes, please.

Q. What Indy events are on your must-do list?

A. First Fridays are always a blast in Indy. It can be tricky for someone like me who participates in the open-studio nights, but I try to sneak out every now and then to support my peers in the art community. The Independent Music + Art Festival and the Virginia Avenue Music Fest are two events that have never disappointed, which is why they’re always on my calendar. And as an avid runner, I always make it a point to invest in different races in the city, namely the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Colts 5K, and the Drumstick Dash.

Q. Which arts organizations do you make a point to support or attend their shows?

A. I always participate in The Bigger Picture Show (pictured), which is Indy Film Fest’s annual fundraiser. Artists and designers from all over the city are invited to re-create movie posters that will be auctioned off for one evening. All sales support the Indy Film Fest and their ongoing efforts to educate Indy on the joy of experiencing film. I’m a big fan of the movies, so this is a unique and creative way to help enrich an organization that promotes the art form that I love.

Bigger Picture Show

Q. I understand you’re a big Indiana Pacers fan. Which player(s) are you especially enjoying watching this season?

A. As we know, the Pacers are very fun to watch this season. While all the players excite me about the team’s potential, I really enjoy watching Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Their youthfulness and energy are hard to ignore, and I can’t help but see a bright future for the Pacers. Plus, it’s very easy to see that they’re both invested in the team and in the city. Another favorite who needs to be mentioned is Lance Stephenson, who provides a unique spark to the team. As someone who’s followed the Pacers since childhood, I can confidently say that this is an exciting time to be a fan!

Q. Where might you take out-of-town guests to get the true Indy experience?

A. A visit in Indy would not be the same without brunch at either Milktooth or The Garden Table. Both places have proven to be good first impressions for out-of-town visitors. And as predictable as it sounds, I have to take my guests to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s simply an Indy icon, and I’ve yet to take anyone there who hasn’t enjoyed it. For guests with little ones, a visit to The Children’s Museum is a must. I also like to show off some of my off-the-beaten-path favorites like Indy Reads Books, Dorman Street, Lick ice cream, and Workingman’s Friend.

Q. Do you have a favorite place in the city where you like to enjoy fresh air?

A. I really love our downtown. It’s just so pretty and accessible. Whether it’s a walk on the Canal or a leisurely lunch on Monument Circle, there’s something for everyone in every corner. On really nice days, I like going for a run on the Cultural Trail and take in the fresh air and beauty of our city.

Q. Have you recently discovered any hidden gems?

A. What I’ve learned about Indy is that it’s a city of hidden gems because it seems to always have surprises up its sleeves. One that I discovered within the last year is Sister’s Comfort Food in the John H. Boner Community Center on the near-east side. I love their meatloaf (with collard greens and mashed potatoes), and the owners are just lovely people.

Q. Aside from where you live, is there a neighborhood in or around Indy where you like to spend the day or just hang out?

A. All of the neighborhoods in Indy are special in their own way, but if I could spend a day somewhere to just hang out, it would be Fletcher Place. Everything is within close proximity. I could have some pig face hash at Rook, grab a beer and play arcade games at Tappers Arcade Bar, sketch or read a book while sipping on the Calvin Pepper at Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company, and cap it off with the best chocolate-chip cookie in the world at Amelia’s.


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