By Gabriel Sofie
George Rodriguez, a Seattle-based artist, visited Syre Center on Oct 29, for an art presentation. He talked about his passions for sculpting and inspirations while presenting his work.
Rodriguez presented a slideshow encompassing his life and work, as he talked about the process of his career.
He explained his humble beginnings and, where his first works started, what inspired him to sculpt. Rodriguez was born in El Paso, Texas, and was captivated by the idea of community through ornamentation.
“Coming from a small community, where we all basically were all family, and how strong that identity was for me,” Rodriguez said.
Ornamentation is a major characteristic in Rodriguez’s work.
“Ornamentation, I love the detail of it; it’s how it shows your style of culture,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez is often making narratives in his art, dealing with societal problems, morality, and the human condition crafted in humor.
“Through the narratives I choose, I bring whimsical, serious and approachable aspects into my work. I realize that even when the content is heavy, it can still be presented in a light manner,” Rodriguez said.
He first attended the University of Texas at El Paso and studied the field of art design. A requirement for this degree was the hands-on exploration of a variety of art styles. He later changed his degree to Fine Arts.
“Clay gave me the ability to create anything I wanted with my hands and mind in a third-dimensional style,” Rodriguez said.
After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and a minor in painting, he started to work as a shoe salesman to support himself. Feeling perplexed about the next advancement in his career, he eventually found himself in Baltimore for an art show, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. The experience gave him clarity on what path he wanted to pursue
“Baltimore opened my eyes truly,” he said.
Rodriguez then moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, to work towards getting a Masters of Fine Art in Ceramics.
“I surrounded myself with more artists and mentors,” Rodriguez said.
An opportunity came to Rodriguez when he traveled the world in 2010 as a recipient of a Bonderman Travel Fellowship Grant. He wanted to learn more about art and culture around the world. He visited 26 countries in 10 months total.
“There was simulators everywhere. This world is so small and large all at the same time. But, we share, so much when it comes to our identity,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez then came back to Seattle, fulfilled a two-year residency at Pottery Northwest in Seattle.
He now is teaching weekly classes on sculpture at North Seattle College, working at Rat City Studios teaching workshops on clay sculpting and presenting his artwork all around the northwest.
Rodriguez had a message for art students of Whatcom: “You really have to want it. Don’t just walk after what you want to do, run after it; you might get there by walking, but it’s going to take a long time. So, just run towards what you need.”