Lately I haven't been able to do as many sketches as I would like to because of project deadlines. But on a good week, you can catch a new sketch of mine almost daily via my instagram feed. I consider social media a modern day artist tool essential. The feedback and support is motivating and it's a fun way to explore different ideas. If you are interested in my process follow my instagram @samrodriguezart. What would be the point of making images if you weren't there to look at them?! Thanks for the support!
Yesterday I completed the first piece in many to come using 3D objects with paint marks to render a composition. It left me with more "what ifs" and a new list of possibilities. So far I am seeing this new work as a prototype for a monumental structure. I need to explore more wood and material options. The work is inspired by portraiture, typography, graffiti, design, and especially topography. The process as shown in the photos posted have helped me to become less attached to images I make. There is an important transformation that happens and each stage offers a problem. Solving it involves re-arranging a reference point at every single stage in the process. Starting from a sketch of a randomly selected internet search image, to a larger scale painting, and the final image, the image is constantly changing and unexpected. I intentionally use internet searches. We live in a digital age and something tells me I need to be exploring that, especially during the reference process. Stay tuned as more thoughts and process develop about this series. Thanks.
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Today after putting some time in at the design desk, I started the first piece for a new body of work. I should have been working on my upcoming December show but couldn't stop thinking of what's to come. I am making myself do this new one in monochrome, mostly through the use of various wood types, stains, and a pinch of spray paint for contrast. My goal is to try out new compositions in my portraiture and play around with the size, scale and placement. Also the wood is going to be very useful in creating a sense of line, shape, and depth since I plan to use it in a sculptural way. The plan is to make it so viewers can get lost in a little world, sort of a portrait as a landscape for exploration. I am very excited about what it looks like in my head, but we'll see if my hands and eyes can keep up! Stay tuned.
The following are some step by step photos of my process in creating a recent piece for my upcoming show at Cukui.
For the most part, I try to avoid painting portraits of celebrities because I feel the work may lack a sense of wonder, and mystery. I also worry if people won't see passed their mental image of who the iconic figure is. Most times I prefer anonymous faces to begin paintings with because I use them as a starting point. I usually try to keep just enough to highlight a certain expression. This sensibility is probably from my experience through graffiti where you basically tweak and reinterpret legible typography based on your feelings and movement.
Well for my current show, I am going against my usual thoughts on portraiture. For a while now i have been wanting to paint a series based on various musicians through my own artist lens because music has provided so much inspiration and therapy for me. Due to my own prejudices on this type of portraiture I have avoided it. But damn it, sometimes you just gotta let it out! I hope to go past what a photograph can capture by absorbing a feeling and releasing it through the work.
Who is The Notorious B.I.G.? Certainly I don't know. Is he a Coogi pattern with shades, and a crown? I started with these elements, which are so very graphic as visual identifiers, and decided to abstract them and find new forms and compositions. I'm not sure what you get from it as I cannot dictate your feelings but I definitely stumbled onto some unexpected results and stopped the painting at a place that I feel is new and interesting. Enjoy!
It's been a pretty busy fall and end of summer. Luckily though I have been able to manage between family and work really well thanks to the new studio space. I still have yet to do a full post about the recent installation over at Oakland Museum of CA because I need to get proper photos.
The good news is I have had to jump right into new projects. The first is a show I'm working on for December of this year at Cukui. The pieces will be what I call a visual playlist. Basically it's a series of portraits dedicated to international and local musicians. Public Meridian, a San Francisco based brand that makes custom bracelets will be creating pieces that coincide with each painting. It should be interesting to see how they translate the music and my art into bracelets. I am most inspired by music when it comes to art, and various types at that. Of course it's really challenging to distill so many great musicians into a small handful to be painted so we voted on some of our favorites based on their international, and local impact, while being conscious of Cukui brand and their following. Since this series can be expanded on, we will most likely continue afterwards.
Meanwhile, I am also working on releasing more prints with 1xrun as our first release was a success. I am also going to be doing a Japanese pop series with Yamamoto Industries that will be produced as iphone cases and limited edition prints.
Lastly, when this is all said and done, my goal is to begin a new series of pieces. They will still involve bits of typography, hybrid identity, and topography but rather than painting the dissection as I have done in the past I would like to actually cut through the surface using power tools and other building materials. I think this will open up many more possibilities on how to think about the topic.
Here are some in progress pics.
I recently completed this painting based on a sketch style that I've been wanting to develop. The portrait is still based on my original intent of experimentation using the face as a platform to combine different visual cues in identity. For me this piece was a breakthrough because I have finally come full circle in my artistic process since I included my experience acquired both in graffiti and at the academy. This was done through the use of material such as spray paint, streaks, markers, and abstract lettering which I incorporated through the face and head piece. For me, the fusion shown in this portrait is less about ethnicity, or culture but more about a combination of artistic time periods, expressions and techniques. The process itself involved so many different ingredients. I think I've finally found something that shows a true sync between my hand and mind.