Sin Vergüenza: Nicole Rodriguez
Most kids get in touch with their creative side when they are young, but as they get older, tend to push it to the side. For Nicole Rodriguez, art is practically intertwined with her soul. Whether it be on the canvas or on the dance floor, Nicole has not let go of those artistic visions. Recently turned twenty and pursuing an education at Howard University, she balances her education with her passion.
Nicole began to dabble with art as young as five years old, giving thanks to her father for introducing her to a new outlet of expression.
“He would come over and we would just draw together– people, landscapes, cartoons,” said Nicole. “I lived in my imagination and brought everything to reality.”
Nicole credits artists such as Frida Kahlo, Rembrandt, and Missy Elliot as her inspirations.
“Everything [Missy Elliot] did was just different,and everyone knew that,” Nicole said, praising the rapper. “Always something new, something refreshing, something no one has ever seen before.”
Nicole is not stuck to just one medium for her art. She paints, draws, and dances but there’s one thing in particular that she enjoys doing: her collage pieces, which could last up to a week to create.
“I’ll draw my subject, and then get my magazines and start finding colors that match the original picture,” she said. “I’ll cut those up, and glue them in their corresponding spots.”
Although her pieces have yet to be recognized from the likes of Chance the Rapper or Solange, both of whom she created a likeness of, her artwork gained a sudden amount of attention thanks to Youtuber, Nathan Zed.
“Nathan Zed made a tweet that said to reply with your art, so I did,” Nicole said. “I could not get on Twitter for hours. My phone would freeze from all the retweets, likes, and DM’s.”
An artist cannot live off of exposure alone, but exposure can make a major difference.
As of now, Nicole’s tweet to Nathan with her artwork has over 800 retweets and over 4000 likes. The opportunity also led to Twitter users buying two of her pieces and purchasing three commissions.
Nicole has made numerous pieces of art throughout the years. She has created pieces depicted well-known musical talent such as Tupac and FKA Twigs, as well as personal pieces that have been commissioned. It could be difficult to pick a piece out of many made with dedication as a favorite, but there are a few pieces dear to her.
The first being a collage piece based on Solange, following the release of her album A Seat At The Table. The collage emulates the album cover of a head shot of Solange, staring directly at the camera with her skin bare and her hair notably attached with pink and blue hair clips. The songs on the album celebrate self and black culture, as well as a reclamation of space.
Then there’s SZA and Travis Scott’s “Love Galore”. This was favored due to the time it took to create the piece as well as the emotional outpouring in the creative process. The piece portrays the image of SZA embracing Travis Scott from behind, their skin filled with clippings of different patterns creating a unique texture. Orange butterflies flutter on the canvas, attached on a way that creates a 3D-effect as the butterflies pop out. Only the background and hair is painted.
The last piece also favored was a painting – much different from her other works.
“It’s essentially a reflection of myself,” she said. “It illustrates how I have been broken down this year in more ways than one, but continue to rebuild into something better than I was before.”
Being an artist can be a struggle for many, whether it be trying to earn widespread recognition to struggling financially. With a lack of support from those around them, many may not realize just how important art is in our society and how it has been everywhere since the dawn of time.
Despite the struggles, Nicole still loves what she does.
“Art is so beautiful, in all forms,” she said. “It was my first love. It has been there for me when no one else was.”
If you are interested in seeing Nicole’s work or commissioning a piece, you can find her work on Instagram dedicated to her art, @saintmade.us.
“Sin Vergüenza”, translating from Spanish to “without shame”, takes back an insult thrown at those who do not conform to the status quo. This section highlights those who are pursuing a passion, cause, style, or living life without any shame. Do you know someone that is doing awesome things “Sin Vergüenza”? Comment below!