Artist: Rita Oak


Rita Oak is an Instagram artist who currently has 10.5k followers on the popular platform Instagram. Rita’s fame first started back in February of last year while being a Niner’s fan sparked the making of her art series involving the San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo. She called the drawings, ‘Jimmy G: Every Day Until He Gets Traded.’ Soon her artwork received a bunch of attention on Instagram and other platforms. I was able to interview her through Instagram about her inspirations, career, and other amazing things in her life. Here are the questions and answers:

 What inspired you to start drawing? 

                “I always loved drawing! I studied art in high school and design in college so it’s something that was always present in my daily life. A few years ago, I kept seeing these amazing digital illustrations on social media and was fascinated by them! I really wanted to learn how to do something like that since I never tried it before. After I graduated I bought an Ipad and she took a gap year to see if digital drawing was something that I would like doing and if it could be something that I could do for a living. 

               “After a few months of creating art for my friends, and family, and selling some of them as gifts, my boyfriend gave me the idea to start drawing the Niners. He has been a Niner’s fan for a long time and when we started to watch the games together on Sunday. So when Jimmy was leaving and he knew I liked Jimmy he gave me the idea to do an illustration of him just to honor him and say thank you for everything he had done for the team. I posted the first Jimmy Garoppolo drawing on the 49ers subreddit and it got a lot of love that quickly evolved to the Jimmy G series and that’s how it all started now I get to do something I love every day.”

Is drawing just for fun or you’re trying to make a career out of it?

                “I started digital illustration just for fun and to see if it was something I could do and if I would like it. I never knew it could evolve into something like this! I wanted to try and make this a full-time job but I never thought I could actually do it! And definitely not in a year! I feel like I was able to create a community with the Niners fans and they gave me the opportunity to create this platform where I can share my drawings and my love for the Niners. I am very grateful for the way it has allowed me to grow and welcomed me in the best way. It’s a challenge every day trying to create new content but I guess that’s part of the fun too. I’ve got opportunities I never thought I would receive and I went to San Francisco and got to see a game live! That was definitely a dream come true but of course, I know I have so much to grow as an artist and it’s a learning process every day but so far I can say that I’m proud of myself.”

What’s your ethnicity/ Nationality? What was it like growing up?

              “I am Portuguese, I was born and raised in Porto north of Portugal. Growing up here it was amazing! We live close to the beach so during the summer we would always get the family together and spend our days there. We did this every year and thinking about it now I kind of miss it. I was actually an athlete growing up! I have done gymnastics for 10 years since I was 6 years old. So that was a big part of my life and it was something that I really loved doing. I would spend most of my time training while going to school and didn’t have much time to go out or do a lot of things with my friends outside of school but I was very passionate about it! I got to travel a little bit for competitions and that would always be super fun!!.

Who’s your favorite 49ers player?

               “My favorite player right now I would have to say it’s George Kittle! I drew him a lot in the Jimmy G series and it was always a lot of fun! He has this great personality where he is always having a great time with everybody. He’s super funny and above all he is one of the best players! I love the friendship he and Jimmy have. He seems very passionate about life and always has great energy!.” 

What was your reaction to Jimmy G and George Kittle seeing your artwork?

                “When I got the video of Jimmy saying that he liked my art it totally caught me by surprise. It was amazing just getting his approval on what I was doing and seeing his reaction was everything! It was the same with Kittle. I think the best one was him changing his profile picture on Twitter to one of my drawings! It’s an honor just seeing something I did in his little circle every single day. He sometimes sees my stories on my Instagram and has shared some of my work and I’m very grateful for that. It always makes my day when a player sees my drawings or interacts with them in some way. I just hope that they like it and know that it comes from a place of respect and love.”

            On March 14, 2023, Jimmy G got traded to the Las Vegas Raiders finally ending the series. Rita drew 404 drawings of the former Niners quarterback for the series. This journey she’s been on and we’ve been on as 49ers fans was a special one that you can’t forget. Rita is really passionate about art and it shows through her drawings. Thank you, Rita, for your amazing artwork