Featured Artist | Artemio Rodriguez

Featured Artist | Artemio Rodriguez

Artemio Rodriguez

Artemio Rodriguez, My Blood is your Oil. Linocut.


Davidson Galleries is pleased to share new additions of linocut prints from contemporary Mexican artist, Artemio Rodríguez from 2000 to 2010. These works range between highly political, confrontational messages like My Blood Is Your Oil and contemplative, meditative scenes like Cuando Lees Pasan Muchas Cosas (When You Read Many Things Happen). Rodríguez constructs captivating stories that we can absorb instantly or for hours on end.


Artemio Rodriguez, Cuando Lees Pasan Muchas Cosas (When You Read Many Things Happen). Linocut.


Artemio Rodríguez, La Virgen del Zodiaco (The Virgin of the Zodiac). Linocut.


Throughout his many years of printmaking, Rodríguez has borrowed icons and figures from cultures across borders and spanning centuries to build his narratives. In some cases, they help explain the story to us and in others, they complicate the layers of the legend. The symbols within ​La Virgen del Zodiaco (The Virgin of the Zodiac) include all of the Zodiac symbols, like the crab and scorpion; plenty of Greek mythology, like Hermes and Triton; but also the Mexican nopal, medieval dragons, and perhaps a reference to Buddhist hand gestures. Of course, skeletons and devils often stand as our villains but sometimes we’re surprised to find they’re the victims in Rodríguez’s works. From beautiful floral wallpaper to dense, graphic borders, there is always beauty and power to be found in these graphic stories.


Artemio Rodríguez was born in Tacámbaro, Michoacán, México in 1972. He studied printmaking under Juan Pasco, master printmaker at Taller Martin Pescador (Kingfisher Workshop) in Mexico City. At the age of 21, Rodríguez immigrated to Los Angeles and became a printmaker at Self Help Graphics. He also co-founded La Mano Press in 2002 in Los Angeles before relocating to Michoacán in 2008 as La Mano Gráfica, a gallery and printmaking studio. Rodríguez directs the Library of Illustrated Books (Biblioteca de Libros Ilustrados, BLI) including its traveling library, the Bibliográfico, a converted 1977 Toyota, one of his many public projects and a companion to the Graficomovil, a 1948 delivery truck converted into a gallery and printmaking studio. Rodríguez is known for his linocut prints as well as his murals, vehicles, and children’s books. Influenced by both European medieval woodcuts and Mexican cultural symbolism developed by artists like José Guadalupe Posada, Rodríguez’s style emphasizes simplicity, clarity, and narrative. His images come from contemporary icons like American cartoons and chicano culture and historical traditions like mythology, surrealism, zodiac signs, and Mexican costumbrismo. A poet at heart, Rodríguez uses the physicality of the printmaking process to write stories in images. His work has been exhibited internationally; is held in the collections of many public institutions including the Seattle Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Library of Congress, and Museo José Guadalupe Posada; and is published in the book American Dream.