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Journal: Meet: Lucha Rodriguez: Thumbnail

We sat down with Lucha Rodríguez, whose knife-cut drawings delicately incise precise patterns and geometric forms into watercolored paper.

Where are you from and where do you reside?

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. All of my childhood memories are from my time living in Caracas and growing up with all of my cousins. My father is Panamanian so I have family and a strong connection to Panamá as well. As a teenager, I became a naturalized Panamanian citizen. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s a beautiful state to go on epic hikes, and visit waterfalls. I enjoy being in the city and at the same time having so many national parks close by. I’m usually hiking somewhere or in the studio for the most part.

What necessities do you require when making your art (radio, specific paintbrushes)?

I need to be able to clear my head first and settle into the studio space. The quieter the better. My work requires natural light so anywhere with at least a window works for me. Window, table, chair, paper, and my knife and I’m ready to work!

You have a particularly unique process for creating your artwork. What led you to this process and how did you know it was the right one to pursue?

I trusted my gut and went through a lot of trial and error. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to start a new body of work but I wanted to intentionally create drawings that explored the material to its core. A fusion of image, surface, and material. Not just ink or pencil on paper but altering the paper itself to create the lines, shading, and color. A single sheet of paper that after being manipulated could bring you back to the room, the lighting conditions, and your physical proximity to it. Something that would t help you connect to the present moment again and again while you read its surface, find patterns, colors, and spaces in between. There’s always so much more to be experienced if we continue to question how we do, see, and perceive things. Even a single sheet of paper can surprise us and become an object for contemplation, calm, curiosity, and wonder.

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Where do you find your day-to-day inspiration?

I find inspiration pretty much everywhere. During my morning walks, breathing deeply, holding a warm cup of coffee, looking out my studio window, and just experiencing and reflecting on life. I am fascinated by the way we can perceive so much around us if we intentionally focus on something and at the same time we have so many preconceived notions of what we think is going on, or how things are that we can ignore what’s actually going on in front of us. Our perception and state of mind, how much information we gather and process, and how we process it is so intriguing to me.

How has your interest in hypnosis informed your practice? How did you first get interested in it and what lead you to pursue a certification?

Hypnosis has definitely expanded the creative playground within my mind. It has become an effective tool to achieve clarity in my ideas and a new way of sensing color, shapes, space, light, and textures all with my eyes closed. I decided to pursue my certification as a CHt to be able to understand how to access the connective wave in our minds to creativity, intuition, and daydreaming. Activating your brain in a creative way without having to lift a finger, opening your eyes, or saying a word it’s just fascinating. Just like art, hypnosis holds a space for you to digest the world and inspires new perspectives on how to perceive it - if you are open to it.

I have this belief that creating art that invites slow looking, and evokes a sense of closeness can inspire others to notice things they haven’t noticed before, and maybe just maybe enjoy the little things a little more.

Lucha Rodriguez

How do you choose your materials?

I come up with the idea first and then seek materials that are suitable. I went through lots of different papers and pigments when I first started the knife drawings. It has taken me years to find the paper that will allow me to make superficial cuts to manipulate light over its surface. As I learn and change, the materials also change. I’ve tried plastics, fabrics, colored lights, copper, wood, clay, and found objects. All of those past explorations truly helped me understand paper as a material, all the things it can do, and how much there is still to explore.

Describe a typical day in the studio for you.

I come in, and open up all the windows (if it’s not cold outside). Light up a candle, and do self-hypnosis for a bit. Sketch or write any ideas, textures, or memories that come to mind just let it all out onto the page. Then I sit by the window with my coffee and follow the inspiration of that particular day and start mixing colors, prepping paper, and finding the best spot with natural light to start working. I take breaks, look at the prisms in the studio and follow their rainbow trails with my eyes, then cut some more paper. After that, I move to the other side of the studio to answer emails, pack and ship pieces, and get ready to deliver finished works. I also do computer things - whatever needs to be edited, photoshopped, ‘grammed, posted.

Then I check back on the work I started in the morning, do a little more work on that and then, I spend time outside with the cat. I only cut paper during the day, to study the light, and understand how it’s reacting to the different cuts and patterns. I pretty much have the same routine every day unless I have to help install an exhibition, art fair, or special project. But every day the work is changing and guiding me towards new directions that may or may not lead to anything else but I’m always happy to follow and play along.

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What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?

Starting something new, not letting self-doubt get the best of me or my ideas. Understanding that research, writing, creating, and thinking takes time. It’s challenging to keep it simple but still complex and I constantly search for that balance in my work.

Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?

Yes, Cromointerferencia de color aditivo. I think I was 4 or 5 years old when I first experienced the work of Carlos Cruz-Diez at the International Airport Simón Bolívar de Maiquetía in Venezuela. It is still one of the most impactful works I have ever experienced. The work covers the terminal’s corridors extending around 30,000 square feet. It is one of his Color Aditivo investigations where color ranges that are not physically present can be perceived by the public as they move and walk through the airport. I was obsessed with going to the airport as a kid just to run on those colors and feel the vibrating effect in my eyes.

What’s next for you?

I don’t know. I stay curious and open to new ideas and opportunities to share with others.

Why do you keep making art?

I have this belief that creating art that invites slow looking, and evokes a sense of closeness can inspire others to notice things they haven’t noticed before, and maybe just maybe enjoy the little things a little more.

Published September 14, 2022.