art by Favianna Rodriguez
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” - Bertolt Brecht
Favianna Rodriguez is a celebrated artist and new media organizer based in Oakland, California. Using high-contrast colors and vivid figures, her composites reflect literal and imaginative migration, global community, and interdependence. Whether her subjects are immigrant day laborers in the U.S., mothers of disappeared women in Juárez, Mexico, or her own abstract self portraits, Rodriguez brings new audiences into the art world by refocusing the cultural lens. Through her work we witness the changing U.S. metropolis and a new diaspora in the arts.
Hailed as “visionary” and “ubiquitous,” Rodriguez is renown for her vibrant posters dealing with issues such as war, immigration, globalization, and social movements. By creating lasting popular symbols — where each work is the multiplicand and its location the multiplier — her work interposes private and public space, as the art viewer becomes the participant carrying art beyond the borders of the museum.
Rodriguez has lectured widely on the use of art and technology in civic engagement and the work of artists who, like herself, are bridging the community and museum, the local and international. Rodriguez’s has worked closely with artists in Mexico, Europe, and Japan, and her works appear in collections at Bellas Artes (Mexico City), The Glasgow Print Studio (Glasgow, Scotland), and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles).
Rodriguez has exhibited at Museo del Barrio (New York); de Young Museum (San Francisco); Mexican Fine Arts Center (Chicago); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); Sol Gallery (Providence, RI); Huntington Museum and Galería Sin Fronteras (Austin, TX); and internationally at the House of Love & Dissent (Rome), Parco Museum (Tokyo), as well as in England, Belgium, and Mexico. She was a 2005 artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s prestigious de Young Museum, a 2007-2009 artist-in-residence at Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA), and received a 2006 Sea Change Residency from the Gaea Foundation (Provincetown, MA). Rodriguez is recipient of a 2005 award from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.
As a teacher, Rodriguez has conducted workshops and presentations at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 2003, she co-founded the Taller Tupac Amaru printing studio to foster resurgence in the screenprinting medium. She is co-founder of the EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) and Visual Element, both programs dedicated to training young artists in the tradition of muralism. She is additionally co-founder and president of Tumis Inc., a bilingual design studio helping to integrate art with emerging technologies.
Rodriguez is co-editor of Reproduce and Revolt! with internationally renowned stencil artist and art critic Josh MacPhee (Soft Skull Press, 2008). An unprecedented contribution to the Creative Commons, the 200-page book contains more than 600 bold, high-quality black and white illustrations for royalty-free creative use. Her artwork also appears in The Design of Dissent (Rockport Publishers, 2006), Peace Signs: The Anti-War Movement Illustrated (Edition Olms, 2004), and The Triumph of Our Communities: Four Decades of Mexican Art (Bilingual Review Press, 2005).
In 2009, Rodriguez co-founded Presente.org, a national online organizing network dedicated to the political empowerment of Latino communities.