Meet the Others: Arantxa Rodriguez
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Arantxa Rodriguez is a Mexican artist currently living in NYC. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including three solo shows in Mexico City, where she is from and group exhibitions in Mexico, USA, and Europe. She holds many degrees (MFA from SVA and an undergraduate diploma in communications and business marketing by Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico and Regents Business School London) and artistic diplomas for dramatic makeup and special effects and DJ’ing. We spoke with her about her practice, spirituality and more.
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
It is going to sound like a cliché but I am into spirituality. Most of my work is all about going inwards. I started exploring with sacred geometry, and then I moved in to performance art where I studied other aspects of “the self” and then I moved into meditation with string installations. I am also doing a series of abstract-geometric drawings that I accompany with poems; poems about a trip through our emotions. Each poem acts like a kind of map, but you could never tell until you read the poem, and of course imagination.
How did you first get interested in your mediums and what draws you to them specifically?
Tricky question because I have explored not only different mediums but completely different forms of art and styles. For almost 9 years I stationed myself in fractals, thinking that was going to be my “trade mark” as an artist. I then decided to study a Masters in Fine Art and they really broke me and pushed me to explored completely different things. Now I am going to use my fractal work to create a clothing brand, I am going completely commercial with that, leaving my new explorations for exploring deeper the fine art world. I consider myself a very chameleonic artist, I am very curious and I am not afraid of changing styles or exploring different things. Before I saw myself as this artist-brand, everything under a same concept, until I broke that shell and the funny thing is that I am going very literal when I say I am transforming my old work into more of a brand. It has always been very commercial. What I have been exploring the past three years is not commercial at all, I kind of need a lot of help to sell that work because it’s way far from commercial.
“I consider myself a very chameleonic artist, I am very curious and I am not afraid of changing styles or exploring different things.”
Can you walk us through your process? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it’s finished?
I never know when its finished, this is more of a question of gut, completely. Sometimes I go into my studio with all this idea of what I am going to do next and when I come in and look at the piece it says to me, “Good morning, I am finished” and I put all those ideas in a drawer for maybe a next piece. How long I take on a piece totally depends, there are string installation I can take months, but others I have made in a span of non-stop 9 hours. With drawings the same, I can sit down and listen to a 2-hour podcast and be close to finishing a drawing, or I can take months on it because I do it little by little whenever I get the chance.
What is difficult about being an emerging artist is that is not only about doing art. You have to work on your portfolios, website, newsletters, chase open calls, answer emails, go out to other shows and network, apart from the everyday things like food, laundry, etc. It’s a lot of juggling and organization. I try to force myself to spend at least three hours in the studio doing nothing but art, and then I sit on the computer and get other matters done, but I am not lying I dream about the day I could have an actual team. I don’t know how many people I would like actually touching my work, but my emails…yes, I want someone to help me with my emails, newsletters etc. I mean, I work with a designer from Mexico, he helps me a lot, but I still have to do all the work before sending him what I need, for example all the writing, images, etc. And hunting for opportunities it is also not easy. I laugh when people have this idea of “being an artist is just doing art all day”. No way, I wish it was like that! We work more than people with a 9-5 job, without a fixed salary, with our emotions all bundled up because it’s a job that is constantly based on approval and all the other parts that I just talked about, if we have the luck to be a full time artist, because some of us divide ourselves with a part (or full) time job. It’s awesome being a creator, but it’s not at all how people imagine. It’s like when tourist tell you “How cool that you live in NYC” and you tell them, “of course! But have you ever lived there?”
What series or project are you working on next?
I feel that I am still exploring my string installations. I am signed up for a few open calls with that work and waiting to be accepted. And I am also pushing my drawing series, at the moment I have around 17 drawings, they are not all online yet, and I don’t know how long I am going to make that series, I have this dream about turning them into murals for roofs .. I still can’t understand why we don’t have more roof murals in NYC!
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
Try to keep a healthy routine and be as organized as you can be to actually get your work done. Wave off this idea about being a demi-god only because you are an artist, we were born with the talent to create and some of us are lucky enough to manifest it, but that is no different than any other job, so work hard, organize yourself and offer to the world your talents, because that is our job! Wave off any kind of expectation, because the expectations we have of ourselves are really what make our paths difficult as artists, only the expectations we have, trying to reach fame or success at any cost, feeling unsuccessful if we are not a phenomenon and that is not true. Hard, passionate and dedicated work always pays off, always.
Find success in moving forward a little bit each day, focus, educate yourself constantly, don’t take your finger off the page and keep on going, that is success! There is a phrase from music producer Rick Rubin that I adore, “Goals can be dangerous. When you reach them, you might mistakenly assume you accomplished something”. The success is in the little by little you do every day, but you have to make sure you are doing that little by little every day.
Oh! And go to your friends shows and share their work! We tend to praise those who “already made it” when it is more important to support those who are still not there, jewels in the making! That is why I like The Other Art Fair so much!
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