1xRun Thru Interview
Softball Cap by Samuel Rodriguez
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, is the original still for sale?
Samuel Rodriguez: One thing I liked about my experience as a graffiti artist was starting out with letters and tweaking them which caused a sometimes legible or illegible output. Lately I have been applying a similar experimental approach to portraiture. In this particular piece I decided to use both portraiture and lettering as a starting point where I eventually distorted and blended both subjects and ended with some interesting results. The process involves a constant edit to images I select, where in this case I chose a face and letter at random which came together as a small drawing. From that drawing I made a larger painting that also transformed since the medium, particularly spray paint, has more range. I used a spray paint nozzle throughout the painting similar to what we used to take off oven cleaner. We used to call them “soft ball caps” because the paint would flare out to that size. The original painting and drawing is for sale and can be purchased through 1xRUN.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Samuel Rodriguez: Lately I have been trying to free up my project intake so that I can spend more time experimenting. This painting/drawing was one of the first that I created as a result of that.
1xRUN: When was this piece created and with what materials?
Samuel Rodriguez: This was drawn in July 2013 and later painted October 2013 . For my drawings, I use mechanical pencil on graph paper. For this painting I used spray paint, ink, and latex paint.
1xRun: Anything you would like us to highlight?
Samuel Rodriguez: I intentionally choose anonymous subjects for my portraiture. Usually I choose faces that I am drawn to that have what I consider a good starting point. I really try to do what a camera cannot, and I also intentionally choose images from internet searches because I think it highlights my time period as an artist.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Samuel Rodriguez: The idea came about through my desire to mix visual identity signifiers together. The execution comes from me longing to revisit spray paint as a medium. For a while I dropped the use of it because I pursued a more formal art approach. I realized in doing the more formal work that aerosol could replace the traditional brush techniques that I learned in school and yield more innovative results. The spray can is my new brush stroke. From start to finish this piece took about 2 days.
1xRun: Did you encounter any issues while painting this piece? if so how did you get through them? if not why did it move so fluidly?
Samuel Rodriguez: The main issues I encountered were letting go of my attachments to feeling like I need to fully render everything. In this one, since it was experimental and I had no pressure to make it look a certain way, I left a lot of loose ends. In doing so, I feel the work looks more interesting.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
Samuel Rodriguez: This piece has more mystery in it, and provides more possibilities for interpretation on the viewer’s part. That is what I want to do as an art maker.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Samuel Rodriguez: People should buy this because it will later be considered one of my early works that was pivotal in setting the path toward what will be my master pieces.
1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
Samuel Rodriguez: Motion.
1xRun: Can you talk a bit about your color palettes, how you choose them for your pieces and how they are applied to each piece?
Samuel Rodriguez: In regards to color I don’t think anyone can be original or claim ownership to them since they are based on our physiological perception. So I always steal color schemes mainly from California Sunsets. Color sets a certain mood just the same way pitches in sound do. Right now I am about to start a series where I am challenging myself to work monochromatic through the use of various types of wood. We’ll see how that goes.
1xRun: This piece is one of your many faces series that you have been continuing for a while, tell us some of your reasons for these daily paintings?
Samuel Rodriguez: There are endless possibilities in making visuals so I try to maintain a steady work habit so that I might explore them.
1xRun: You seem to go back and forth between some iconic figures and others who are less known, what are your favorite aspects about each?
Samuel Rodriguez: Iconic figures are good in moderation and what I enjoy about this type of subject matter is that it invites more viewers. The challenge is to do something different and go beyond the celebrity image that iconic figures have built for themselves. So I try to sort of re interpret celebrity images and think of it sort of like the way a musician pays tribute to classic songs by doing their version. However, my favorite way of working is with anonymous figures because I like my work to have an ambiguous feel to it.
1xRun: You are also in the Graffuturism movement, how did that come about and how has it continued to evolve over the years?
Samuel Rodriguez: I am loosely involved in Graffuturism. I’m not sure if all of my work fits into that movement but it has been interesting to watch. The shows I have been involved in were through my connection with Poesia Transcend. I know him from my graffiti days and he was someone whose work I admired back then. The first time I seen his stuff was at age 12 and it has always stood out as being slightly irregular compared to other graffiti at the time. I guess it makes sense that he would have defined this current movement, he has always thought in the long term and has tried to push pass the status quo. Graffuturism is definitely evolving especially since there is now an identity to claim in it. Works that I am most drawn to in it are those that still have some kind of visible connection to graffiti lettering. Without those ties, it is just Futurism and that has already been done in the early 20th century.
1xRun: Along with this piece, what else have you been up to since your last RUN?
Samuel Rodriguez: Since my last RUN, I participated in a Dias De Los Muertos exhibition at Oakland Museum of California. I also released some limited edition eyewear, contributed to a few group shows, and collaborated with Tequila Espolon, and Complex Media.
1xRun: Anything else you want to add that we didn’t touch on?
Samuel Rodriguez: Let me just add that I really enjoy working with 1xRun because they display a lot of value and respect in artists that they collaborate with. I really appreciate this and want to point out that it is rare. Thank you. Gracias.