Featured Artist: Rodney Ewing

Image of Rodney Ewing. jpg

Rodney Ewing is an artist based in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA.

Ewing’s drawings, installations, and mixed media works focus on his need to intersect body and place, memory and fact to re-examine human histories, cultural conditions, and events. With his work he is pursuing a narrative that requires us to be present and intimate.

His work has been exhibited at Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino, CA; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; and in San Francisco, CA at Root Division, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, Nancy Toomey Fine Art, Alter Space Gallery, and Ictus Projects. He was an Artist-in-Residence at Recology and the De Young Museum of Fine Arts both in San Francisco. Ewing received his BFA in Printmaking from Louisiana State University and his MFA in Printmaking West Virginia University.

How did you find yourself in the arts – or how did the arts find you?
I found myself in the arts from an early age. It started with my Father sharing comic books with me and I reproducing them. This started me on the path of taking art classes in school, then college. I did not decided to become a fine artist until later in my college education.

Who has been a big influence to you in your career?
I don’t think there was one big influence on my career. There have been several memorable people that have influenced me such as my high school art teacher, my professors in undergraduate and graduate school. There are also artists I still admire to this day like, Charles White, Nancy Spero, Alfredo Jaar and Doris Salcedo.

When you hit a creative block, how do you move forward?
Usually when I hit a creative block, I think about the problem I am trying to solve with that piece of work or series. Being a topic based artist I am always trying to find the best method or medium to communicate my ideas effectively.

How do you define success?
On an institutional level, I define success when curators trust and support the projects that I am creating. On a personal level, I define success on the ability to conceive of an idea and follow through on it irregardless of where the work will be exhibited. Also, how the work is received by the viewer. If the work stimulates some type of civil discourse, I am always happy when that happens.

What legacy do you hope your work creates?
Too early for me to be thinking about legacy, but what I hope my work communicates is that we should perceive the world closer than we normally do, and that the narratives that we are exposed to have more depth than we can imagine.

What has been an important lesson you have learned during your career?
Persistence and dedication to my growth as an artist.

Finally, what advice might you give to your younger self?
Depends on how young:
6-12 years old: Have fun and draw all the time.
15-18 years old: Prepare for the career that I want.
20-30 years old: Figure out who you want to be as an artist.
35-40 years old: Whatever ideas you are thinking about, find a way to make them real.

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