Flipping through her father’s old medical books as a kid turned out to make a pretty lasting impression on Atlanta artist Lucha Lucha Rodriguez. Those illustrations of the body’s mechanics worked their way in to becoming remarkably orchestrated creations of colorful paper and plastics. When Rodriguez became confident in the organ-like style of her experimental installations, she began to incorporate sharp angles and geometric shapes. These forms work together to open up an even more complex and interesting avenue of interpretation.
Her installation displayed at Beep Beep Gallery as part of their “Crown” group show in July was handpicked when the curators conducted a site visit at her studio and felt it was perfect for their vision of the exhibition. Rodriguez’s work blends familiar organic forms with a mystical, transcendent—and surprisingly uncomplicated—color palette. Currently, she’s showing new pieces at KAI LIN ART on the Westside.
CommonCreativ talked with Lucha Lucha Rodriguez to find out what motivates her to create such complex pieces and what she’s excited to work on next.
CommonCreativ: The shapes you construct are so organic and fluid—are they symbolic?
Lucha Lucha Rodriguez: My father has an extensive collection of medical illustration books, so I grew up surrounded by these fascinating images, just flipping through the pages every single day. So, the forms in my art are inspired by internal body parts but they don’t represent any organ in particular—they’re a mental reconstruction of these childhood memories. In some of my most recent work I’ve also been incorporating geometric shapes with sharp angles and three-dimensional structures. I like the tension between these two worlds, and it’s something that I’ll probably keep exploring in the future. It’s also worth mentioning that the work is open to interpretation. I really enjoy the fact that everybody has their own unique interpretation of the work.
CC: What draws you to creating large-scale pieces?
LLR: I like the immersive feeling that a large-scale installation gives. It’s something that draws people in and intensifies the way they react to the work. I feel that installations give the viewer a first hand experience of color, light, texture and scale and it lets them interact with the pieces in a way that a drawing or a sculpture can’t. My installations are special events that will only happen at that specific place and for short periods of time. I also like the challenge of morphing the work depending on the room, as the work changes from room to room depending on the environment it’s in. I find the challenge exhilarating, and I feel that I have to reinvent the work every time I do it.
CC: What does your artistic process look like?
LLR: I’m constantly scheduling time for daily introspection. I sit in my studio to explore what it is that needs to be expressed. I feel my work is latent within me all the time and just needs some quiet alone time to be set free. Different materials, textures and shades of pink inspire me, so I surround myself with a variety of objects that I find interesting.
I start by cutting shapes, twisting and bending them to see how they behave. Once I have a better understanding of my materials I start sketching and refining my ideas on paper. I recently moved to a new studio so I’m looking forward to experiencing how it might change the way I work.
CC: What do you think about the representation of women in the city’s current art scene?
LLR: I feel we’re well represented. There are many strong and talented women in the local scene within a variety of disciplines—not only artists but also arts administrators and art supporters who are constantly contributing and making things happen in our community.
CC: Who are your favorite Atlanta artists at the moment?
LLR: I’ve always admired all artists who keep making new work, challenge themselves and continue to pursue their creative careers. At the moment I would say Anne-Marie Manker, Peter Ferrari and Matt Haffner.
CC: Where are the best spots in the city for someone to get a feel for Atlanta’s creative scene?
LLR: I’d say the Cabbagetown neighborhood, The Goat Farm Art Center, Beep Beep Gallery, MOCA GA and KAI LIN ART Gallery.
CC: What are your goals for the rest of 2015?
LLR: I’ll be working on new pieces for my show at KAI LIN ART Gallery (Pieces currently being displayed at the gallery). I want to finish setting up my new private pink studio, which I’m really excited about. I plan on finding new ways of using paper, continuing to learn how to play drums and experimenting with new materials such as different plastics, spray paint and fabric. Also I want to take on more fashion related projects.