VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
Armando Rodriguez: Death Doesnâ€™t Drive a Car
October 30 - November 28, 2009
Canal Street Gallery presents the exhibition Armando Rodriguez: Death Doesn’t Drive a Car, on view through November.
Armando Rodriguez’s studio, Isma Estudio, is buzzing with energy. He shares the space with several artists, and they are discussing Rodriguez’s next exhibit at Canal Street Gallery. The dialogue shifts back and forth between Spanish and English; details are discussed as inks are spread onto plates. Above the artists’ heads are several older framed prints; many depict faces and skulls, all bright and colorful.
“La muerte no anda en coche,” Rodriguez asks a fellow artist to translate, but they agree it is not possible. The title loosely translates to “Death doesn’t drive a car.” Popular in Mexico, this slogan will be the title of his solo show opening at Canal Street Gallery on October 30 and continuing through November. A reception at the gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, October 30, is open to the public without charge.
“It’s something you say to someone who is always worried that something bad might happen,” Rodriguez said. “Death is everywhere, so you have to stop worrying about it.”
He adds that in Mexico, where he is from, death is celebrated. “Dealing with death becomes a celebration of life.”
Rodriguez became interested in art at a young age. His interest in art goes back to childhood, when, at age 11, he worked as an assistant for an artist, mixing pigments.
At 14, he was the last in his family to move to Houston. He decided to stay and received his degree in Fine Arts from the University of Houston.
He worked for several years as a commercial photographer and later as a graphic designer for the Houston Chronicle for 16 years. In the past five years, he returned to fine arts and his other passions -- education and his community -- serving in the education department of the Museum of Fine Arts, teaching at the Art League of Houston and developing a grant program at Wharton Elementary.
Rodriguez even sees his Canal Street Gallery exhibit as a vehicle for education. He is going to invite other artists to create altars for Dia de los Muertos and use his exhibit to teach about the holiday.
“People in Houston relate to the Day of the Dead, but there is often a misinterpretation of the holiday,” he said. “The original tradition should be taught and celebrated.”
Rodriguez’s artwork, mainly prints and paintings, are inspired by his heritage, his imagination and by the German expressionist painters, as well as Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso.
“One fascinating thing about Picasso is that he never really traveled that much; he never learned to drive a car. He didn’t need to go somewhere to create,” Rodriguez explains. “I see that in my work. I don’t need to look at a still life. I don’t need a theme or topic, I come into the studio and whatever happens, happens.”
His imagery comes from within. He says he deconstructs and reinterprets what he sees and feels. He looks forward to sharing the results at Canal Street this fall.
“It will be a fun evening, I guarantee it,” he laughs.
For more information about Canal Street Gallery, visit www.canalstreetgallery.com.
About the Canal Street Gallery:
Located blocks away from Minute Maid Park, this downtown gallery features the original works of all 8 board members, as well as rotating work from resident and visiting artists. Canal Street Gallery also serves as a classroom, where current artists share their talents with students. www.canalstreetgallery.com. 713-223-2219.