Art for me is about having fun, developing new skills through discovery, and sharing the results with my family and friends. Like a kid playing with crayons or finger paint, I enjoy the process and then proudly and shamelessly hang my pieces for display for everyone to see, whether on the walls of my home or on my blog: Look what I did!
I really don’t care if they are good or bad (whatever that means). I have no expectations. If you are my family or my friend, you will likely get one of my pieces as a gift. Then it becomes your problem. This may seem a bit invasive, an imposition; but it is an act that comes from my heart.
Don’t get me wrong, it feels great when I hear that someone likes my work, even if it is just a “like” given to one of the posts on my blog by someone that I don’t even know. This playful exploration with art has been brewing all my life.
As a kid I loved to draw, and I used to say that I would be a famous artist, but I never really did anything about it because, until very recently, I believed that it wasn’t worth doing anything just for the fun of it. Everything had to have a greater purpose and I had to be “great” at everything that I did. This, as you can imagine, generated a lot of stress and anxiety in my life. Who can live with so much pressure? It reached a point that it became a crisis. I had to make a decision: continue living in a self-inflicted anxiety prison or free myself and be happy. I decided to be happy.
At the same time that this was happening [deciding to be happy], my wife and I bought our first apartment. Finally we had a home of our own! A few days after moving in, we realized that we could actually decorate our walls however we wanted. We are not renting anymore. They are our walls and we can do whatever we want. Instead of buying a piece of art by someone else, I decided that I wanted to take a shot at creating my own.
I had this vision of a piece of wood with hyperboloids and paraboloids drawn on it. I have always been fascinated with those.Curved shapes made out of straight lines? That is magic. Plus I am an engineer, so I know I can draw a straight line if I have a ruler. A bit of planning and a few hours of work later I finished my first piece, which hangs proudly above our bed.
After that I thought, this is it. I will just keep going and see what happens. And here I am, more than a year later and still going at it, still enjoying it, and still having fun. Several of my pieces now hang on our walls or are displayed around the apartment (my wife is very supportive). I have given several away to my family and friends, and some are just lying around in a corner and I don’t know what to do with them.
I like to have logic behind all my pieces. For me that logic comes from straight lines and number sequences, in particular the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence, which are related to each other. The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers that starts with 0 and 1 and then the subsequent numbers are the sum of the previous two: 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, and so on. Thus the sequence starts like this: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13…and keeps going. The golden ratio is an irrational number that is defined by (1+√5)/2 = 1.618…. The ratio between subsequent numbers of the Fibonacci sequence tends to the golden ratio as you move further along the sequence.
Most of my pieces follow this logic in one way or another; whether in a graphic representation of the sequence, or in proportion or in the number of items depicted in an image. For example, Robot 112358 is a graphic representation of the Fibonacci sequence, where the proportion of each square or cube that makes up his body represents a number of the sequence, thus his name.
For me there is nothing magical about these numbers, although they seem to be commonly found in nature and in the proportions of what we consider beautiful. I simply chose them as a starting point, as something that I can always go back to and establish a logical path. Did I mention that I am an engineer?
One thing that inspires me is street art. There are extraordinary street artists out there, whether in the complexity of their pieces or in the way they communicate a message. I think that street art adds to the fabric of the city and can be a really beautiful thing. Since I am not looking to get a fine or be charged with vandalism, my attempt at street art at this point has been to pick up discarded pieces of furniture, paint them, and put them back on the street. That wasn’t really rewarding, since I couldn’t see people reacting to what I did. So recently I took an old bed sheet and drew on it one of my repeating characters, Robot 112358. My wife and I then went around NYC displaying Robot 112358 in all its glory and taking pictures. We had a lot of fun with it. I have been bitten by the street art bug, so now I am trying to figure out what is next.
Antonio Rodriguez was born in Venezuela. He studied engineering in Venezuela and in Spain. He currently lives in NYC where he works as a structural engineer. Learn more about Antonio and his work at www.airinny.wordpress.com.