Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spotlight on Martha Rodriguez by Erika Pitera of my Shopping connection

Spotlight on Martha Rodriguez

Designer Spotlight on Martha Rodriguez

Martha Rodriguez and her art are greatly influenced by vibrant colors, pop culture and religious icons, and upcycled materials - products of her Mexican ancestry and life in San Francisco.

She works across many different media, creating paintings, jewelry, home accessories, handbags and more.

Martha's art has a distinctive Latin and pop art style, and she takes great pride in reworking found objects and discarded items into "a shining new statement," bursting with vivid color and life.

Estudio Martita on Etsy You work in so many different media. If you had to choose just one as a favorite, what would it be and why?

I would probably choose working with mixed media paintings. I work in a studio filled with painters who have degrees in fine art. My degree is in Social Welfare.

It is intimidating to put a brush to canvas when you're surrounded by professionally trained fine artists. I think for this reason, I enjoy working the most in this medium because it's the most challenging.

My work takes longer to complete. Rather than just creating as I go, the paintings take more thought, are more methodical and sometimes involve constant retouching. This is all an incredible challenge that I enjoy.

If you could meet one pop culture icon, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

Well, the obvious choice would be Frida Kahlo. I'm fascinated by her life and artwork. She had the strength to create her work despite her physical limitations and unhappy marriage. Pain and sadness did not hold her back from creating.

The fact that her pain and sadness influenced her work is very interesting. She seemed to use her painting as a personal form of therapy and growth. I find that very admirable.

Spotlight on Martha Rodriguez What single word do you feel best describes you and your art?


Who has influenced your artistic vision the most, and why?

There are a number of contemporary, Chicana, California artists with large bodies of work that I have found to be incredibly influential: Patssi Valdez, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Diane Gamboa, Yolanda Lopez, Yolanda Gonzalez, Ester Hernandez and Juana Alicia. These women all have strong visions and powerful, unique work.

Upcycling is becoming more and more popular in the handmade movement. Do you think it's here to stay?

Absolutely. Waste can no longer be discarded without attention to recycling, reusing, renewing. For those communities and countries that have yet to face this fact, I believe their time will come. Upcycling is more than a trend, it's a necessity.

What does urban folk art mean to you?

I use the term to differentiate myself from strictly indigenous art or art created in rural communities. I am a 3rd generation American of Mexican descent living in the urban city of San Francisco. I look at life, at issues in an urban, progressive light. My work as an urban folk artist combines my Mexican ancestry with my American, urban taste and aesthetics.

Spotlight on Estudio Martita What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your work?

Recently, the declining economy has been a bit tough to handle. I'm a full-time artist and hope to remain one. It is a real gift to be able to face each day completely focused on your work. This is a wonderful privilege that I hope to never lose.

What's your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?

I love to go see Indie movies with my husband or spend some quiet time with him at home reading or even watching TV. He's also a great cook and creates the most fabulous, nutritious meals.

Spending time with my kids, my grandson. I love getting their take on life and the world. Their opinions keep me in touch with their generation.

I also love spending time with my girlfriends. Sometimes I have girl weekends where we get together, drink a little wine and laugh a lot!!! A girl needs her girlfriends!

Explore the urban folk art of Martha Rodriguez at:


originally Posted by: Erika Pitera | Categories: Interview Series

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