Jay Migrino: Graffiti Artist

Jay Migrino distinctly remembers a pivotal point in his self-concept when he was reading his copy of Leland Ryken’s “The Christian Imagination” for his composition class in the BTS. His professor, Isaac Mayeux, used the course to emphasize Christianity’s alignment with the arts, and when Ryken’s words about excellence leapt off the page, it changed Migrino’s entire perspective on how to “do” art.

“I didn’t know how to integrate my faith with my art,” Migrino said. “I might have cried a little, because I finally found the answer to what I was supposed to do with my life.”

Migrino, a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, didn’t start college as an art major, but after a semester as a pre-med student, he knew he needed to change his course.

“Pre-med wasn’t working out,” he said. “I knew God was calling me to be here, but I needed to be doing something else.”

After hearing about the industrial and innovative design major from a friend, he knew what his new major should be.

“‘That’s what I need to do,’ I thought,” Migrino said. “I went to the registrar’s office the next day and said, ‘I need to switch majors.’ It was on the whim.”

Since that time, Migrino went full force on discovering new and unique ways to be an artist on Cedarville’s campus.

Migrino first started spray painting in middle school when he would paint on trainyard scraps to learn the basics and fundamentals of spray painting.

“My entire life, I grew up painting and drawing,” Migrino said. “In seventh and eighth grade I started getting into graffiti. I was kinda rebellious as a kid.”

After coming to Cedarville, however, he rediscovered his love of the art form. “One of the things I noticed was the Rock. And I knew that I could start practicing.”

While at Cedarville, he said he saw the Rock as a means to go back to his former art form and find his own style. Perhaps his most notable artistic endeavor is his involvement with painting Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” last fall.

“That whole thing basically happened on a whim,” Migrino said. “I was bored and I was with my friend Tyler Willis and I was like, ‘We should paint the Rock tonight.’ We had no idea what we were painting.”

Collaborating with another friend, Tanya Busby, they decided to replicate a classic.

“What if we painted the ‘Mona Lisa’? Or ‘Starry Night’? That would be plausible,” Migrino said. “It’s more like the expressionist, short brushstroke style, which you can mimic easy with aerosol paints. There’s something cool about mixing mediums with classic paintings that you normally don’t see.”

After Migrino and Busby bought the necessary colors at Wal-Mart, Willis joined the two to create the final product. “It took us about an hour and a half. We really didn’t expect it to be a thing, and it was nice.”

This artistic feat opened the door to other opportunities on campus. Taylor Schlabach and Ryan Frantzis from the SGA marketing committee approached him to paint the Rock for SGA’s events and promotions, including Moonlight Madness and Operation Christmas Child. As a member of the HYPE (Helping You Promote Events) Committee, Migrino continues to contribute as a graphic designer and he enjoys the marketing side of art.

“There’s all these opportunities where I can get involved, and I like that,” he said.

Because he will be moving to the International Center for Creativity Columbus campus for the next two years of the industrial and innovative design program, Migrino says he will miss the artistic community on campus.

“In my high school days, I never had such a good artistic influence,” he said. “A lot of my friends were not the artistic type. Being here at Cedarville, there’s so many different people. You have the artists, you have the theatre people, you have the engineers. And you can find them out and be friends with them, and I love it. That’s why I love being on campus.”

Though his dream is to be a creative director of a magazine or marketing company, Migrino looks forward to the hands-on approach of the industrial and innovative design major and the people he will meet.

“With artists, if you put them in the same room together, it’s kinda like we respect each other, but we’re always trying to one-up each other, always pushing each other.”

When asked why he chose the industrial and innovative design major over other art programs, Migrino picked up the napkin dispenser on the table.

“Someone had to design this,” he said. “If I do get hired (as an industrial designer), I could make practical things. A lot of people look at art as consumers, which is a typical mindset, like ‘What can art do for me?’ As a Christian, I struggled with the question, ‘Is there a way for me to impact someone’s life as an artist?’”

Migrino said when he found out about industrial design, he felt it was a way to express himself artistically and give back to the community and the world.

“I still have no idea exactly of what I’m going to do. But I know this is how I’m supposed to be an artist,” Migrino said. “There’s a thing built within us to create.”

Roger Gelwicks is a senior technical andprofessional communication major and an arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. He believes that honey badgers are vastly overrated and that a Komodo dragon could take one on any day.

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