Sandra Rodriguez works mainly with acrylics and mixed media. Self-taught, she adores experimenting with abstract art, sometimes using pouring techniques. For fun, she also enjoys painting wine bottles and making whimsical illustrations of people going about their daily life.
Sandra’s love of art was sparked at an early age by her architect’s parents–her mother is currently also an artist. As a child, Sandra once needed to have her right arm set in a cast and quickly trained herself to draw with her left hand because she felt the need to draw every day.
Sandra, a Mexican woman born in Puerto Rico and currently living in Los Angeles, where she works as a court interpreter.
In addition to being an artist, she is a communications expert and writes on topics ranging from finance to entertainment for different media outlets in both the U.S. and Mexico. She also appears as a host in videos for lifestyle website En Cinco (en5.mx) and multimedia company Heart of Hollywood Motion Pictures.
Sandra is a former editorial coordinator for Mexican newspaper Reforma, one of the most influential publications in Latin America, and has translated tens of books from English to Spanish for major publishing houses. These include medical, self-help, and business books, novels, and titles focused on spirituality or personal growth by popular authors such as Louise Hay, Nick Vujicic, and Neale Donald Walsch. She is about to release her own book (as Sandy Rodriguez), Chooses to Prevail: Unexpected Insights to Help You Overcome Challenges, which touches upon the therapeutic benefits of art and features a piece created by her on the cover.
Multifaceted Sandra is additionally an amateur winemaker. Her wines created jointly with a partner, feature labels with her art. PDR Cellars is the name of her wine. PDR stands for Playa del Rey, a small beach town, and the labels show playful, abstract paintings of that area.
What has been your greatest difficulty as an abstract artist and how did you overcome it?
Sandra: I think art, in general, seems intimidating to many people because they feel they need to offer works that will be in line with contemporary tastes, that will impress everyone or that will sell quickly and well. To avoid that feeling of intimidation, I remind myself that I’m painting for myself, for my own pleasure. If others like the results, I’m honored, but if they don’t, it’s all right, especially since different people have different tastes. This takes the pressure off and leads to more productivity and creativity.
There’s a lot of mixed media collage work and abstract art on the market these days, how do you differentiate yours from the rest?
Sandra: Certainly. I’m a beach and nature lover, so these themes appear often in my abstract paintings. This is a bit of escapism for me, as I have always lived in major cities, such as Mexico City, Philadelphia, briefly Seoul and currently Los Angeles. I enjoy working on whimsical illustrations that capture the daily life of city dwellers.
Abstract art evokes a lot of emotions through color and composition. Can you tell us how you use color and composition to evoke emotion in your pieces?
Sandra: I believe that art evokes emotions and that conscious choices can impact the artist’s mood. I have proven the therapeutic value of art to myself. When I need to improve my outlook, I might select bright, cheerful colors and playful elements. When I’m stressed, I go for a soothing, cooler palette and softer lines. If I want to feel more confident and energized, I opt for thrilling, intense reds and bold strokes. Painting modified my feelings and leads me to a state that I find more desirable. That is the state that art induces in me as I work, and also the state the spectator might experience .
You are also painting wine bottles in interesting ways. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
Sandra: As an amateur winemaker, I find painting wine bottles to be extremely fun due to the way the light makes them glimmer. Also, a half-empty bottle can suggest anything from a festive attitude to feelings of despair.
Besides art, you are involved in a lot of other activities, and one I’m particularly interested in is your upcoming book “Choose to Prevail”. Please tell me more about that. What is it about?
Sandra: Choose to Prevail is a book that is weeks away from being released. I wrote it as Sandy Rodriguez. It offers an unexpected spin on the self-help genre. At times touching and at times humorous, it is meant to infuse the reader with self-confidence and more faith in the future.
What motivates you as an artist? Is it curiosity, the search for beauty, or meaning?
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into creating an artwork? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Sandra: An idea pops into my head, perhaps after seeing something specific such as an interesting color combination or a sunset. I envision a painting inspired by that, and the idea keeps exciting me, or nagging at me, throughout the day. Sometimes it keeps me up at night as I lay in bed. Then I know I need to take action. As soon as I get the chance, I rush to start working on the project I’ve been picturing so clearly in my mind. I keep supplies on hand because the urge can strike at any time.
What is the work you’ve done that you’re the most excited about?
Sandra: Lavender Fields, an acrylic pour I planned out with a certain degree of precision. Several years ago, I visited La Gacilly, a village in Brittany (Bretagne), in northwestern France. I remember seeing its lavender fields on a chilly but sunny day, and that’s the memory I tried to recreate. With this, I won first place in the acrylic pouring contest.
Who are a few artists/people that really inspire you right now, and why?
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?
Sandra: Yes. A therapeutic purpose. I can use art to regulate my moods at will or turn to it as a healthy outlet for stress and disillusionment. I can also use it to express an outpouring of happiness or excitement.
What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?
Sandra: I have been invited to create an illustration inspired by the entertainment industry for Heart of Hollywood, a multimedia company. This image will be used on T-shirts and other merchandise.