Artemio Rodríguez is a Mexican artist who was born in Tacámbaro, Michoacán. He began his career as a printer’s apprentice with Juan Pascoe at his renowned letterpress studio Taller Martin Pescador (Kingfisher Workshop) in Tacámbaro, Michoacán. At the age of 21, Rodríguez immigrated to Los Angeles and became a printmaker at Self Help Graphics. He co-founded La Mano Press in 2002 in Los Angeles before relocating to Michoacán in 2008, where he co-founded La Mano Gráfica, a gallery and craft store. Rodríguez directs the Library of Illustrated Books (Biblioteca del Libro Ilustrado, BLI), where his many public projects include The Bibliográfico, a 1977 Toyota converted into a traveling library, and the Graficomovil, a 1948 delivery truck converted into a gallery and printmaking studio.
Rodríguez is known for his linocut prints as well as his mural-sized prints and for his vehicles. Influenced by both European medieval woodcuts and Mexican cultural symbolism developed by artists like José Guadalupe Posada, Rodríguez’s style emphasizes simplicity, clarity, and imbued with a personal narrative. His images come from contemporary icons like American cartoons and Mexican culture, mythology and surrealism. A poet at heart, Rodríguez uses the physicality of the printmaking process to write stories in images. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collections of many public institutions, including the Seattle Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hammer Museum, Petersen Automotive Museum, Library of Congress, Phoenix Art Museum and Museo José Guadalupe Posada. A retrospective look of his works can be seen in the book American Dream.
“Rodríguez’s new works emphasize some of his best-loved figures – skeletons, devils, animals, children, and the royalty of Michoacán – in acts of celebration, seduction, and play. He captures a multitude of experiences within one moment and one image. Entire scenes of a play, entire poems, unfold in stark black lines.” - Paige McCray, Davidson Galleries
Rodriguez’s talk will cover his journey from his beginnings in rural Mexico to his experience crossing the US border, becoming part of the Chicano Art and Mexican printmaking scene, his rise to recognition and giving back to his community.
Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio.