“If art is therapy,
if art is to inspire,
if art is a weapon,
if it is medicine used to heal soul wounds,
or if it makes one not feel alone in his or her visions,
or if it serves as transportation to a higher self,
then that is where I aspire to live everyday.”
You can't deny that some people just seem to be destined to do what it is they do. Call it providence, call it serendipity—what have you. Rudy, with all of his training and self-determination, is very much one of those people.
I (Dwight) have been a fan of his work for a long time, having been made aware of his skills as a Illustrator by a mutual friend, Jim Hamilton. Jim and I worked together years ago and he would talk about his days as an Art Director in NYC working with his talented friend, Rudy Gutierrez. So much so, it seems completely fortuitous that I finally got to meet him through this podcast!
Rudy's career and body of work commands much respect. Book covers, album covers, CD art, illustrations for periodicals and children's books. His paintings have appeared in galleries and shows, nationally and abroad. He's done 'performance art' in front of live audiences, Art on a Grand Scale and received awards from The Society of Illustrators. He's spent time as a teacher at schools like Parsons and his own Alma Mater, Pratt.
As a matter of fact, in his own brand of fortuitousness (is that a word?), he was commissioned to paint the cover to Santana's platinum selling Shaman CD, back in 2002. While the disc is only seven years old, the path to Rudy getting the opportunity to collaborate with one of his musical idols, started in his childhood (listen to the interview, you'll love the story).
The Shaman image ended up being featured not only on the CD, but later, several stories high on a billboard in Times Square. It was also displayed on a huge backdrop behind Carlos Santana himself during his performance at the '02 Super Bowl. It's one of Rudy's most noted contributions, as a painter, to the pop culture landscape.
We had the best time chatting with this man about life, love, spirit and art.
In the interview, he talks about his early days growing up in The Bronx, his first experience with art on a sidewalk scale (snicker...sorry) and working on staff in a commercial art studio before going freelance.
He also discusses the backstory behind him getting the Santana gig, his relationship with his agent, Richard Solomon and why he stays true to himself...always.
**For this episode, we played snippets of Santana's Black Magic Woman and Sideways ft. Citizen Cope, plus John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. I know, right? We have excellent taste!
Click here to download the show.