Monday, May 14, 2012

Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez (1978) is a renowned artist, entrepreneur, and organizer who creates prints and posters that deal with the issues of war, immigration, globalization, and social movements. The nature of her work and the time period it was made in would make Favianna Rodriguez fit well within third wave feminism. Her works depict those who typically do not have a voice in mainstream America; who are forgotten about and ignored on a daily basis. She works much in the realm of art to bridge the gap between the community and museums in order to make art more accessible to everybody around her. In addition to her artwork, Rodriguez is well known for her leadership and innovation in creating organizations to promote education and reach out to new audiences about the power of art. Rodriguez is the child of two immigrants from Peru who grew up during her teen years in East Oakland in the 1990’s, where she was surrounded by art. The following is an excerpt from a KQED artist profile of Rodriguez that describes how she first was introduced to art:
A largely self-taught artist, Rodriguez learned about silk-screening in her teens by taking free art classes offered in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, where she grew up. For Rodriguez, silk screening is an art of the people, as evidenced by its use in social and political movements throughout the last 100 years to educate and organize the masses. Along with her long time collaborator, Jesus Barraza, Rodriguez designs posters to raise awareness on issues ranging from genetically modified foods to immigration rights to globalization (KQED).
The impact of Rodriguez’s works is powerful. Her use of bold, vibrant colors and text in her pieces grabs the viewer’s attention and makes her message impossible to ignore. Utne, in an article “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World”, captures the essence of Rodriguez’s art:
She’s going to make you shout. Favianna Rodriguez’s political poster art packs revolutionary punch, fused with crackling colors and don’t-mess-with-us mojo. “Gentrification = Predatory Development” thunders a billboard in her Oakland, California, hometown. “We SayHell No!” In an image-saturated world, Rodriguez’s fearless, frank work is impossible to ignore. “I use art to transform global politics,” Rodriguez says (UTNE).
Although Rodriguez does not regard success as having her art featured in a gallery, she has had much of her artwork featured in museums around the world and has collaborated with many international artists. This helps place an emphasis on the themes of interdependence of people around the world and the global community that appears in her works. Her biography on her website says:
Rodriguez's has worked closely with artists in Mexico, Europe, and Japan, and her works appear in collections at Bellas Artes (MexicoCity), The Glasgow Print Studio (Glasgow, Scotland), and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles). Rodriguez has exhibited at Museo del Barrio (New York); de Young Museum (San Francisco); Mexican FineArts Center (Chicago); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SanFrancisco); Sol Gallery (Providence, RI); Huntington Museum and Galería Sin Fronteras (Austin, TX); and internationally at the House of Love & Dissent (Rome), Parco Museum (Tokyo), as well as in England, Belgium,and Mexico. She was a 2005 artist-in-residence at SanFrancisco's prestigious de Young Museum, a 2007-2008 artist-in-residence at Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA), and received a 2006 Sea Change Residency from the Gaea Foundation (Provincetown,MA). Rodriguez is recipient of a 2005 award from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (
 In addition to being an artist, Favianna Rodriguez is an activist within the Latino community in addition to bringing attention to women’s issues. According to her biography on The Huffington Post,
In 2001, Rodriguez co-founded the East Side Arts Alliance (ESAA) and Visual Element in Oakland, California, to train young artists in the tradition of muralism. In 2003, she helped established the Taller Tupac Amaru print studio to promote the practice of screen printing among California-based artists. Additionally, Rodriguez is co-founder and president of Tumis Inc., a bilingual design studio. She is co-editor of Reproduce and Revolt!, an unprecedented collection of 600 political images for royalty-free creative use, and her artwork has been featured in a variety of publications. In 2009, Rodriguez she helped found and its sister organization Presente Action after recognizing the need for Latino communities to make better use of technology-based organizing techniques. Since April 2009,Presente's campaigns have brought national attention to hate crimes against Latinos, anti-immigrant violence, and most recently, the historic nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (The Huffington Post).
These different organizations are all geared towards making art and activism more accessible to the communities she works with on a day-to-day basis. She is not only making progress herself, but is inspiring and enabling others to join her in this activism, making her a real leader in her community. The UTNE article mentioned above summarizes everything Rodriguez does well by stating,
As the daughter of immigrants and a woman of color who grew up without many role models in the art world, Rodriguez gives voice to the global community, and, stepping outside of the artist’s traditional frame, she’s building infrastructure for next-generation women.Collaborating, educating, organizing, writing books, public speaking,everything—she says—becomes part of the artist’s work (UTNE).
Through her efforts of teaching kids about art and imparting her knowledge of social media and the utilization of technology within organizations she is facilitating the development of a more active Latino community and feminist movement.

Works Cited

"50 Visionaries who are changing your world." Utne Reader:
     Alternative coverage of politics, culture, and new ideas. N.p.,
     n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <

"Biography." N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012.

"Favianna Rodriguez." Breaking News and Opinion on The
   Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012.

"Favianna Rodriguez." KQED Public Media for Northern CA.
   KQED, n.d. Web. 13 May 2012.

N.d. Photograph. Oakland LocalWeb. 13 May 2012.

Jesse C. 

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