Get to Know Artist Josie Rodriguez
Josie Rodriguez is a visual artist who uses melted beeswax, pigment, and damar (tree resin) to create her paintings and sculptures. Many of her paintings and sculptures include the written word and oftentimes her own poetry. Josie has taught encaustic workshops for over 15 years from her home studio in California and Oregon. Josie’s art is being showcased in the Inspirations Gallery until the end of March! You can see it on our next two First Fridays, or by appointment. Here we learn more about what she does and why she does it.
Em Weiss: Tell me about yourself! Where did you grow up? Did you go to college?
Josie Rodriguez: I grew up in the Bay Park area of San Diego. I graduated from SDSU with a B.A degree in Speech and Hearing Pathology, and the University of San Diego with an M.A in Practical Theology.
EW: How long have you been doing art and what did you do before doing what you do?
JR: I worked at Scripps Mercy as a clinical chaplain for 12 years and another four years at SD Hospice. It was during both of those times that I began doing art work. I decided to retire so that I could finish my book of poetry based on the many experiences I had working in a clinical setting. It was also at this time that I decided to work on my art with earnest.
EW: Why did you decide to be an artist and do what you do now?
JR: I could see that art and writing with my patients and families and to myself was valuable toward healing. I do what I do because I love it. I love the generating of ideas, the thinking process, the different materials, and the actual creating. It is both challenging to me and creates immense joy.
EW: What’s your personal favorite piece of art you’ve done?
JR: My favorite piece of art was the last piece that I made based on an eye trauma that I received last year. It is very different from most of my work.
EW: What inspired you to pursue your career?
JR: I actually was inspired by doing art during the grieving period of losing my younger brother. I had an idea, I pursued it and received great feedback. That helps.
EW: If you didn’t become an artist, what would you be doing now instead?
JR: If I didn’t pursue my art I probably would be more involved with the writing community. I have read so many poems and essays over the years. And I love to write.
EW: What’s most rewarding about your job? What’s most challenging?
JR: I love when a piece of artwork is finished and I can sign my name on the front and the back. It is ready, Ready to meet the world. What is the most challenging? I remember someone saying to me that my work was organic and that she would recognize my work anywhere. That was very affirming.