1xRun Thru Interview
Mario/Luigi by Samuel Rodriguez
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this painting, when materials did you use?
Samuel Rodriguez: This painting was done for a collective exhibition inspired by our favorite childhood video games. It was created with spray paint and charcoal on canvas in February of 2012.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight about your work?
Samuel Rodriguez: I try to do face studies daily, you never know what you might discover in the process that may contribute to the art and craft.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Samuel Rodriguez: The piece took about 2 days.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Samuel Rodriguez: When I paint, I try not to reproduce a technique or an idea that we already know and see. Although I do apply traditional methods of observation and technique, that is usually my ‘step 1’ in the process. I create a foundation that looks like a straight forward rendering of a subject, in this case the painting in progress looked much more smooth and closer to the actual character illustrations that we usually see Mario Bros. done in. The next step from here is to leave the rest up to chance by deconstructing and embellishing what I initially setup. During this next step is usually when interesting aspects of a painting begin to emerge.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Samuel Rodriguez: People should do whatever they want. There are as many reasons as there are people to buy it or not. Here’s a quote that I like from Vidal Sassoon, “Longevity is a fleeting moment that lasts forever.”
1xRun: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
Samuel Rodriguez: Fun.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Samuel Rodriguez: I started as far back as I can remember, probably 5 years old. My first piece? Still haven’t made one.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? How about now?
Samuel Rodriguez: Wow, this is too hard to answer. I have been inspired by so many artists, designers, photographers both present and historic. Too difficult to say, there are dozens.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Samuel Rodriguez: I MUST listen to music. I listen to so many types. When I did the Mario/Luigi piece, I was listening to PFunk.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Samuel Rodriguez: Takashi Murakami because of his use of massive public art sculptures. Sculptures seem to have a longer lifespan than paintings, you can look back at periods in time and see sculptures and monuments as markers of time, Murakami does this through his work. That’s eventually what I want to do. The latter is another tough question to answer. I would collaborate with Da Vinci. Actually I probably wouldn’t collaborate with him, probably just learn. I like that he was also an inventor, that he made tangible contributions. Then again, we only see a fraction of what history lets us see, he might have been a real dick head for all I know.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Samuel Rodriguez: I bought a series from artist Mitsy Avila Ovalles, and yes I still have it. The pieces are crochet renderings of Pan Dulce, with custom typographic messages. That was also the last piece I bought due to budget issues.
1xRun: We caught you painting some collaborative walls at Pow Wow 2013, tell us a little bit about that experience and how you got tied in out there?
Samuel Rodriguez: I was lucky to be involved in the recent Pow Wow Hawaii event and also the year before. I got tied into it through Jasper Wong, and Aaron De La Cruz, who I met during Art School. We’ve always stayed in touch and friends so when Jasper and his buddies created the event he let me have a chance at it. The experience has been amazing and has fueled so much of what I do today. Meeting different artists, and seeing how they work, and learning that through distance we still have so much in common is very reassuring for an artist. The event has also given me an opportunity to contribute to a larger international art scene, which is extremely invaluable for people like myself who are building careers with limited resources. This collaboration with you guys is the perfect example of the opportunities that arise from the event.
1xRun: What else have you been up to since then as far as shows and mural work?
Samuel Rodriguez: I’ve painted a few walls, but I haven’t set out to do x amount of walls. When it comes to working I have to go with my gut. Doing a wall, doing a canvas, a sketchbook entry, or just thinking and researching are all essentials in my process. I cannot claim to be a muralist, or painter, and what have you because there are so many out there who dedicate fully to those crafts. I like to hop from different mediums and methods depending on how I feel, so this means I might be on a kick for a couple months to do one application or all of the above. This is what keeps me interested in making art. It also presents a challenge since so much of being an artist nowadays means also creating a brand identity. The best way to market brands is by repetition. I kind of suck at repeating images/techniques, I guess I’m moody when it comes to all that haha! I don’t know if I would be happy if I stuck to one thing when making images presents so many possible outcomes. Ironically, some of the work that I love the most is sort of branded and repetitious.