world of color: Marianne Angeli Rodriguez creates vibrant multicultural art | The last one | Weekly gambit
The joyful and colorful work of the Filipino-American artist Marianne Angeli Rodriguez reflects influences from a life spent growing up around the world.
Rodriguez is a contemporary abstract painter selling large-scale canvas paintings and paper prints at a stylish gallery and studio in downtown Covington. There, she and her husband greet customers, suggest where to place the art in their homes, and offer discounts for framing at a nearby store.
National retailers like Anthropologie and AllModern have collaborated with Rodriguez to sell his pieces after finding out about his work on social media.
Born in the Philippines to parents who worked for the United Nations, Rodriguez spent her formative years in Guatemala, West Africa and England before moving to New Jersey in her second year of high school.
Her vibrant, vibrant colors and eclectic wallpaper-worthy print patterns are a nod to her life experiences – bold brushstrokes inspired by flowers and fruits, folklore, figures and tribal elements . Each piece is a thoughtful blend of cultures that come together in the best possible way.
“I love the crazy patterns, and colors come into play living in all these different countries and enjoying all the different art forms,” Rodriguez said. “My parents collected art and crafts from local artisans from all the places we lived and filled the house. When I lived in Guatemala when I was 12, it was a big [artistic] awakening.”
Rodriguez started painting later in his life. She received her undergraduate degree in anthropology, then studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
“I was finally immersed in an art school environment, and it set my whole soul on fire,” she said.
After graduating from FIT, Rodriguez worked in public relations in New York and volunteered in Kenya, where his parents lived at the time. There she worked with local artisans who took discarded animal horns and bones unusable for the meat industry and incorporated them into jewelry. She then returned the craft to the United States.
It was through jewelry making that Rodriguez had a quintessential introduction to New Orleans. A former classmate encouraged her to come to town, so she started hosting trunk shows in Magazine Street shops and making friends along the way.
“Then I met this amazing woman at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and she organized a trunk exhibit for me at her home on Decatur Street. It was taken care of and so enjoyable, ”Rodriguez said. “It was so shocking how hospitable everyone was, welcoming me with open arms, coming from New York.”
Rodriguez moved to the city in 2011 to Blue Plate Artist Lofts and began selling jewelry and watercolor-printed fashion illustrations in the art market of present-day Marsalis Harmony Park under the Markette brand.
A year later, she took part in the documentary “NOLAbound”, which spotlighted artists in the city after Hurricane Katrina. It was then that she met her husband, Rock Whittington, a musician, who created the soundtrack for the film.
A trip to the Philippines for a friend’s wedding in 2015 prompted her to focus more on painting.
“When I came back I went to an art store and bought a big canvas and some paint and never looked back,” Rodriguez said.
She and her husband moved to Covington where she honed her painting skills, working primarily on 48 inch by 48 inch canvases.
“Painting in an abstract direction and with my use of color is the most liberating way to express an idea that cannot be expressed in words,” she said.
She quickly grew out of her garage art space and moved into a Covington studio owned by acclaimed New Orleans artist James Michalopoulos. She moved into her own gallery and studio nearby on North Columbia Street early last year.
Its inspiration comes from everywhere, from the Philippines – with its different tribes, islands, dialects and headdresses – to New Orleans with its bold and bright festivities.
“You feel that energy and want to meet that energy when creating art,” Rodriguez said. “Longing for a tropical climate is the undercurrent that inspires my approach. Bright and vibrant pigments live on my palette.
His work is on permanent display on the Northshore at St. Tammany Parish Hospital and the Southern Hotel, as well as on the Southshore at the Magnolia Hotel, Nolé and Louis Armstrong International Airport.
This fall, Rodriguez plans to introduce more original works of art in smaller canvases in a collection. Her work can be purchased in her gallery or through her online store – which includes original artwork, prints, hand-painted planters, and even a pandemic-era puzzle.
“It has been a long journey,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t have a background in fine arts, and at first I didn’t know how the colors blend together. It’s been a process of discovery, but I really love the liberation of working on large scale canvases. It’s a privilege and something I still can’t believe I can do.
The Marianne Angeli Rodriguez The gallery is located at 323 N. Columbia St., Covington. Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Find more on rodriguez.art and on Instagram, @marianneangelirodriguez.