'Here & There' Wall & Event

New video about my recent wall project for Empire 7 Studios. Read more about our event for the mural below.
Video by: John Atomos

Words from Empire Seven Studios: Likening the murals to journalism, Artist Sam Rodriguez says, “When I think of murals, I think of outdoor books. This recent wall marks the first of many that I plan to do, which would depict the cultural landscape of San Jose through observations and interviews of its residents. This will result in pieces that could only be found in San Jose.” 

Rodriguez was assisted in the execution of the wall by community volunteers, which freed up Rodriquez to focus on the portraits and more technical aspects of the mural. “A lot of the people who helped out cared as much, if not more, about the painting than I did,” the artist says. “They held up the standards as I would for my own paintings.” Some of the youth involved in an intervention program (Teaching Adolescents Skills in the Community), who worked on the mural, came back after the mural was finished and proudly showed family members their work.

Friday, August 11 from 7:00-10:00pm, come celebrate the City of San Jose with the unveiling of its latest mural! Additionally, we will be featuring a solo exhibit of Sam's work within our gallery space!

7:00 – 7:30pm: Mural viewing and artist talk at the wall located on Kiem Laundromat (8th & Empire Street, one block from E7S)

7:30-10:00pm Celebration and Art Exhibit at Empire Seven Studios, 525 N 7th Street, San Jose, CA

Blvd Bombs - Lowriders
Music by Akro1 & Ambitious Outsider
El Taco Loco food truck

Our original moving date was delayed and we are still actively pushing our Go Fund Me campaign as we will have to move this fall. Significant funds are still needed to maintain the E7S mission and secure a permanent artists’ space. Please help spread the word https://www.gofundme.com/save-empire-seven

New Mural In San Jose, California

‘Here & There’ - New Wall on 8th & Empire Street in San Jose, California. 
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Recently, I completed the first of what I hope will be many projects here in my hometown of San Jose, California on 8th & Empire Streets. Juan Carlos Araujo of Empire Seven Studios partnered with me to manage it all, and also to gather assistance from neighbors, and local youth intervention service programs which made this a full on community involved Public Art Project.

Having just completed a solo show where I was asked to create pieces about San Francisco’s Mission District, I felt excited to come home and do something based on San Jose. Initially not knowing what that would be, I started out by revisiting this wall which I had painted years ago. Although this new piece was unfunded, Juan Carlos and I still felt the urge to get started on what we think could be an ongoing series. A lot of my work opportunities come from outside of San Jose, so it felt great to be here painting and receiving love from the neighbors, especially those who Bar B Qued for us!

On this wall, there is a portrait of my own daughter who goes to school nearby, and my friend’s daughter who lives a few blocks away. This recent wall marks the first of many that I plan to do which will depict the unique cultural landscape of San Jose through observations and interviews of its residents. My goal is to seek out actual neighborhood faces and elements—both past and present—by taking photos, observing each area and getting to know the individuals who live there. This will inform the content of the images, but more importantly, result in pieces that could only be found in San Jose.

Available Works | Studio Move

Greetings everyone! Some of you have inquired about available works for sale and I finally have had time to do some inventory at the studio. I am going to be moving soon, so right now is a good time to swoop up on some pieces at a good deal. Below are some that I have available. Click the images below to enlarge, and send me an email of the ones you would like.

Ships Internationally. Thank you!

Solo Show | Typefaces: Caras De La Misión

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Greetings! I am happy to announce my newest solo show, 'Typefaces: Caras De La Misión'! It has been about four years since my last one and I am glad it is being hosted here in the Bay Area, close to home. I was invited by Acción Latina’s Juan R. Fuentes Gallery, to do a location-specific version of my 'Typefaces' series about their neighborhood, San Francisco's Mission District. It was a challenge that has helped me to further realize my voice as an artist. Below is some information about the show, if you are in or around the SF Bay Area, please take some time out to see these in person and enjoy some good food around the neighborhood!

Acción Latina’s Juan R. Fuentes Gallery
2958 24th Street, San Francisco
Curator/Artist: Myself (Samuel Rodríguez)
Displays: June 3, 2017 – July 28, 2017

Words From Acción Latina: 

With his new exhibition Typefaces: Caras De La Misión San Jose-based visual artist and graphic designer Samuel Rodriguez depicts the unique cultural landscape of the Mission District via observations of people, their distinctive features and their surrounding environment. This exhibit is part of an ongoing portrait series called “Typefaces” which examines social and cultural hybridity through sampling and remixing visual cues that we use to process identity in faces, typography, fashion, and architecture. Caras de La Misión includes familiar neighborhood faces—both past and present—with tones reminiscent of the ‘80s and ‘90s-era Bay Area, and is dedicated to the resilient community of the Mission District. At a time of rapid gentrification and displacement, Caras de La Misión helps to forge a cultural bridge across the Bay Area, establishing a creative dialog between Latino communities in San Francisco and San Jose.

Join the Facebook event page for further information.

Below is a video by Accion Latina about the process of making the show.

Puma X Sam Rodriguez x 1800


I recently had the opportunity to work on a collaboration between Puma and 1800 Tequila. It was a bucket-list project of mine because I have always wanted to design my very own Puma Clyde. It felt great to give art direction, from choosing materials, colors, and doing a custom illustration for a classic shoe that I sported during my formative years as a teenager doing graffiti. Below is more information about the project and a video by Hypebeast about the design process.

Words From Hypebeast: Following an early preview of the 1800 x Sam Rodriguez x PUMA “Cinco de Mayo” Clyde , we now have a full on-feet look at the collaborative sneaker. Detailed close-ups of the special edition Walt Frazier classic reveal the intricacies of Sam’s signature art. The line drawing all-over print remixes Aztec and Mayan imagery from hundreds of years ago and contemporary graffiti style graphics. While Sam’s work takes the foreground, a royal blue formstrip overlay contrasts the backdrop of the primarily light blue upper. Details are rendered in metallic silver and the color scheme as a whole nods to 1800 Tequila’s recognizable bottle and logos. Sam’s signature appears on the insole and tongue, and a metal 1800 embossed lacelock completes the package.

The triple collab is limited to 1,000 pairs and will not see an in-store or online release. Instead you can text “1800” to “55755” and check out more information on the official rules to get your hands on a pair.


New Work

Two pieces I recently painted. (Left) 'Kae', (Right) 'B'

The Gradient of Perspective

The following is an article I recently wrote for Silicon Valley Debug. To find out more about them or view the article on their page, please visit: 

The Gradient of Perspective at The Euphrat Museum's Exhibit: Justice For All?

I’m honored to show artwork alongside powerful voices in the Euphrat Museum’s exhibit ‘Justice For All?’ at DeAnza College – a group exhibit about our collective history and the effects on individual lives and systems. The exhibit’s curator wanted to combine works like mine, which weren’t direct responses to specific events, with works that could be described as responses and answering the question of, where do we go from here?

I felt like the pieces from my summer of ‘16 series were right at home in the exhibit. That summer proved to be a season that exposed many of humanity’s negative attributes, and sometimes its grace. That summer was eventful in the media with critical situations popping off locally and abroad; the Pulse nightclub shooting, missing students in Oaxaca, Syrian crisis, gender inequality issues, police shootings, ridiculous presidential candidates, floods in Louisiana, contaminated water in Michigan, Rio Olympics and so much more. I absorbed all of it and created an album of visual responses titled, Summer Of ’16. In these pieces I felt like it was important not to repeat what had already been broadcasted or give a matter-of-fact literal reaction because cameras, eyewitnesses and journalists already provide that.

An artist’s role emerges out of their surrounding environment. Because of this, some artists who have been affected by injustices can’t help but have a strong urge to create works around this theme. As an artist, you are constantly observing behaviors in search of what’s next and sometimes unfortunately not all of what you encounter is good but is inspiration nonetheless. For those of us who are established and fortunate to have a platform that may inspire others to affect change, it is important that we use this power as often as possible; it is our duty. But just like society as a whole, the works will vary as is necessary.

In a sense, that is what I observed during my walk through of the show: A gradient of responses some dark and some light. One piece by Oreé Originol introduced me to an entirely new approach to art making. He showed part of his ongoing series titled, Justice For Our Lives, portraits of individuals from marginalized communities who have been shot and killed by police.

The pieces are available for anyone to download a­nd share. His website states, “You are encouraged to get creative with the designs, print, and distribute them at demonstrations, in classrooms, art galleries, as street art, and anywhere else that will force people to remember the names, faces, and the stories behind each person who has been killed by state sponsored terrorism.” This body of work was made in response to unfortunate events, but I couldn’t help but notice the innovation behind it.

As an artist, I have mostly come to understand my profession as something that is mostly available to people who have the capital to afford it. Although I share it free via social media, the body made by Oreé bypasses that notion and makes the art even more accessible. Murals do this too, but the fact that one can download, print and or share the art is much more empowering since the viewer is an active participant in the completion of the piece.

My own work is about studying the visual cues of identity, and what I often notice is that these aren’t as concrete as we think. These days, there are so many commonalities and overlap. For example, if I do a portrait mixing Arabic with Roman typography, and add some pale and dark skin tones, now you have a figure that isn’t so easily defined. This provides viewers with an invitation to wonder about the figure and create meaning from their own point of view. One might recognize a portion of the work, while another might see it as illegible abstraction. By distorting visual cues I hope that people will realize more of our common lineage. During this time in our history, it’s more important than ever to remind people of this because once someone can understand and feel another person’s perspective, it is easier to see that we all laugh and cry.

I used this approach for the series by sampling the common themes of the tragic events. For example, I made a piece about the missing students of Oaxaca, and the mass shooting in Orlando; both unfortunate situations about young Latinos. I also did a couple of pieces with Arabic typography because there was so much negative coverage of Middle Eastern people and I felt the urge to ally with them by reminding people of their beautiful contributions. For me, remixing what we process as visual information is simply a thought and then a pencil mark. They might not make literal sense, but not everything can be within our grasp of explanation. We have the expansive gift of intuition and feeling which is what allows us to process such abstractions. If we allow ourselves to be comfortable with not knowing, I have hope that we will evolve away from fearful seeing.


The Justice for All? group exhibit at DeAnza’s Euphrat Musuem is up thru March 23rd

Paint it Forward

Upcoming show at Cass Contemporary gallery. Paint It Forward is a group show that asks established artists to pair up with emerging ones for the creation of new works. I used this opportunity to ask my wife Bu Nation to return to painting after a 6-year long hiatus. Below is what we submitted. 

Left Image: 'Neo Xicana' by Me
Right Image: 'Superstars & Refugees' by Bu Nation

Click Images to Enlarge...

Visit Cass Contemporary by clicking HERE. Other participating established artists include...

Adam Caldwell | Alex Rosmarin | Bask | Beau Stanton | Buff Monster | Caroline Caldwell | Dave Thomas | Derek Gores | Eric Inkala | Greg Gossel | Gregory Siff | Hush | Jason Pulgarin | Jonny Alexander | Joram Roukes | Juan Travieso | Justin Bower | Kashink | Killer Acid | Low Bros | Mad Meg | Meggs | Pablo Benzo | Peter Van Tongeren | Reinier Gamboa | Sam Rodriguez | SEK | Sjaak Kooji | The London Police | Tom Thewes | Tristan Eaton |


Mural commission I did in November 2016 for Samsung offices in San Jose, California.
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