Marianne Angeli Rodriguez is an artist and designer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work is greatly inspired by her unique upbringing in various countries and cultures around the world, as well as the sights, sounds, and flavors she experiences in her everyday life. I fell in love with Marianne's work after finding her on Instagram before our own trip to New Orleans a few years ago and have followed her creative journey ever since. In fact, one of Marianne's "Offerings" paintings hangs in my own home, and inspires me on a daily basis. When Marianne and I discussed the idea of offering a collection of her original paintings through Habitation Co., I couldn't wait to learn more about her creative process! You can find links to our collection of original paintings in the shop after the interview.
Enjoy the process!
Tell us a bit about your creative background growing up...
My parents are avid collectors of art and handmade goods, they acquired interesting pieces from travels abroad, and from local artists in whichever country we happened to be based in, including sculptures, textiles (rugs, accessories, traditional garbs), hand carved furniture, and paintings. Being surrounded by these unique items made me curious about art. When I was 10, I lived in Guatemala and our neighbor happened to be a watercolor artist, so my mom arranged for me to take an after- school session with her. That was my first ‘real’ art class. I never once considered taking up art seriously as a career, but I always had the urge to create things, so I made it a point in high school and college to take every single elective course in the arts. I took classes in photography, ceramics and mixed media collage. It was an unusual effort of sustaining what seemed like a dormant beast, that I was subconsciously both avoiding and hoping would wake up.
When did you discover your true calling as an artist and decide to turn your passion into a business?
When I moved to New Orleans from New York, there was a period when I was completely on my own with few friends, I spent a lot of time by myself drawing and painting quietly and comfortably. Although I still had a job that I reported to, I would spend my evenings on personal projects, which grew into doing commissions for other people, and then further to collaborating with local and national brands.
What core message do you want to share through your work?
I hope that my work is a reflection of the eclectic sensibilities that have helped shape me, to share beauty through various arrangements in color, pattern and texture. Deeper than that, I want my work to be a gentle reminder of how we are all connected, to appreciate one another and to appreciate nature.
Can you walk us through a normal day in your life?
I begin my day attending to my three pets, I make sure that they get their care and exercise. Over coffee, I go over my small goals I hope to achieve for the day. Lately my schedule has been completely erratic and nocturnal. I handle all of my admin tasks in the late afternoon/evening. I start the creating process around 9/10pm usually up until 6/7am, sleep til noon, and start over. This may change with the season...
Where do you tend to create your best work? What's your favorite time of day?
My best work comes about when I’m by myself in my home studio. My favorite time of the day are the couple of hours before sunrise, and then right at dawn - that tiny window of darkness before the sun comes up is magical. I’m usually wrapping up my work and washing my brushes at this time.
You're a total nightowl! Where do you find most of the inspiration for your work?
Thanks to the internet, I find a lot of interesting images on Pinterest and google that I’ll file for reference. I am obsessed with folk art. I love going to and always find inspiration at flea markets, vintage stores and ethnic food markets. I also draw a lot inspiration from foreign films in the set and costume design.
If you could host a dinner party for 3-5 dream guests (past or present) who would you invite, what would you love to ask them?
I would invite his holiness the Dalai Lama, Alan Watts, Bob Ross, Salvador Dali and Ellen Degeneres. I’d ask them each what they would have done differently in life, and then after dinner we would all do group Karaoke.
Now that's a Karaoke party I'd love to come to! Can you share a bit about your creative process: what is your first step in creating a new painting?
I like to produce work in small groups or series, this way it becomes a longer drawn-out practice with the opportunity to go back and forth and refine whatever ideas and notions I want to capture. Sometimes I draft ideas out in pencil in my sketchbook and other times I go right in with paint. I often switch between watercolor and acrylic.
Are there any books, podcasts, blogs, etc. you would recommend for someone interested in a creative career?
There are so many wonderful resources out there to choose from! Personally, my creative journey this year has been tied strongly with my quest for spiritual wisdom - keeping creativity a priority while putting forth the conscious effort to be a better human. I feel it’s important to first have clarity on what your intentions are, especially in doing creative work which serves as your unique message that you cast out into the world. On my website I have a section listing the various resources that have inspired me to pursue a path with more mindfulness. (link at bottom)
Where do you hope your business will be in 5 years?
It would be a dream to have a brick and mortar studio-shop space that would dually function as a small center for community gatherings geared toward the practice of meditation and all things related to wholesome living.
That sounds amazing! Ok, last question: if you could hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you love to go?
The sacred sites of the Buddha, Thailand
Shop our exclusive collection of original paintings from Marianne's "Offerings" series here
To view more of Marianne's work and follow her creative journey visit:
Link to meditation resources: http://www.marianneangelirodriguez.com/dhamma/