Have you ever met a jack of all trades, master of all? We're not sure we have either, but Joel comes pretty close. Joel Rodney Evangelista has seen and done it all: his encounters with graphic design, merchandising, photography, styling and many many more have provided the ingredients for the concoction that is Rodney.
Introduce yourself and describe what you do
My name is Joel Rodney Evangelista and have been currently working through my creative studio, Rodney, and alongside different creative endeavours with local designers in Toronto, Canada. Over the last 15 years I've managed to gather experience in many different fields of work, ranging from merchandising, buying and styling, ecommerce and retail management, photography and graphic design to name a few. These skills that I've been honing in on have helped me traverse the skateboard and streetwear industries ultimately leading me to also start my own creative endeavour known as Rodney. Within the year of 2021 I've been blessed with more opportunity, one of which will be a showroom for my latest project entitled, Studio 店 (Mise) and will be located at 915 DuPont Ave., in Toronto.
How did you get started and why did you choose the industry/career you’re in?
Ending up in the skateboarding and streetwear industry was a natural progression from being extremely inspired by the OG stores of Toronto. The 401 Richmond building housed the original Nomad, Ransom, Goodfoot, and later, the Stussy Flagship store. Stolen Riches, Adrift and Blue Tile Lounge existed in that same ecosystem which sparked the creative bug to pursue graphic design. I remember going to sample sales in 06/07' for Freshjive, 10 Deep, Crooks, Alife, WESC, Vans among others, rummaging through bins of collections and finding immense joy in the works of these brands, who at the time were leaders of industry. Later in my career I found myself taken on by the team at Adrift where I developed a lot of my taste through my peers whom I worked with and the clientele of industry goers and grassroots collectors.
One year I decided to throw a birthday party after hours at the shop, typically I wouldn't do something so extravagant and didn't expect anyone to show up, however with a surprising amount of guests, I felt an overwhelming appreciation. The next morning I decided to design my first graphic shirt, revolving around the name Rodney, my middle name given to me by my father of a similar name, Rod. This shirt changed my life; after I gifted out the shirts to those who came to the party, I realized that I had started something special. What was originally a friends and family project had gotten some traction; friends of friends asking where to get one, or when the next design was coming out, questions about a website, and which Instagram to follow to find more product. The response was overwhelming, and since 2016 I've been working on creative projects for Rodney and for other peers in Toronto and overseas.
Since you left Lost and Found, your existence has been a bit of a mystery to me but it seems like you've really established yourself in the city and beyond. Word on the street is Rodney Shop is opening a location. What can we expect to find there and what are you most excited about in the future?
Rodney was an outlet for me to pursue creative projects and inspirations whenever they came up, and I very much took my life as the opportunities came. However I couldn't deny the fact that Rodney had a very unique perspective of my world and I quickly outgrew the work I put out in its earlier years. So over the last few years I've been very torn between ending the project and starting something new, or keeping it open and trying to rebrand. This notion slowly turned to a new opportunity where I can showcase Rodney among other projects that I admire from my peers and other creators from around the world, a project that I named, Studio 店 (Mise.) "店/Mise" is the Japanese Kanji for "Shop" which helps describe the showroom/retail aspect of the project, however the "Studio" portion was introduced to help shed light on my portfolio, ranging from graphic design, brand consulting and production and also photography. Simply a space for my work to be shared and to start conversation for creative riffs and possibly spark new and exciting projects. The physical space will be launching in the first quarter of 2022 which will dawn the next stage of development for myself personally and for my work to breathe.
Photographed by Nathan Legiehn
Check out Joel and Rodney Shop on Instagram at @joel.rodney