I have always been attracted to those things that have personal meaning for me, especially if it’s addressing an injustice, hypocrisy, or my own opinions of society. My inspiration includes underground comics, 60s animation, tattoos, and public art. To create effective cartoons, I have to stylize the images so that they can become easily recognizable and pleasing to the eye. I can’t tell you how many hours I spend on just character development alone, constantly changing angles of the body, the expressions on the face, and still being able to juxtapose other images to create a powerful statement. My cartoons are not just outlined characters with one-liner gags and slapstick comedy that die and come back to life. They are people that I humanize, people who are dealing with real-life issues and politics. Depending on my audience, sometimes I’ll toss in a few naked females, known as “high brow” cartoons, to draw attention for the sake of composition or commentary. None of my images are directly appropriated from mainstream TV or comic books but are instead taken from the provocative world that exists in my mind and the ironic society that surrounds me.
Currently, I am on a journey exploring the relevance of cartooning in fine art. Am I a cartoonist or a contourist? In order to answer that question, I am experimenting with going beyond traditional cartoons by using them more conceptually; that is by deconstructing techniques in cartooning to symbol, work, narrative, and personae and using color as a metaphor. Aztec codices and Egyptian wall murals have been a recent source of enlightenment because of the way they use color symbolically and their use of symbols to tell a historical event. Whenever I combine a cartoon with a word or symbol, I get a glyphtoon, referring to the Egyptian pictorial language of hieroglyphics (meaning “scared carving”). I came upon my discovery of glyphtoons when I was doing graffiti with one of my favorite controversial artists, Jocelyn Superstar. We would tear pages out of magazines and use the text to inspire us to diss or compliment the article. We would go over the zine page with cartoons and symbolic codes, allowing only bits of the text to show through. What I find most appealing in the art of cartooning, is the creation of a glyphical world made up of visual puns.
Photos and press release for this artist.
Residency: February 2003 - May 2003
Art Exhibition: Friday, May 23
Isis Rodriguez's website