One way to support artists is sharing what they do with as many people as possible. That’s why I like to write about artists whose works I own in my personal collection.
I first spied the “Afternoon Light on the 6th Street Bridge” painting by Roderick Smith during a studio visit on October 1, 2013 at Avenue 50 Studios in Highland Park . I was there to see the latest works by Sonia Romero, who shared a workspace with a few other artists, including Roderick.
While Cheech was chatting with Sonia, I wandered into the back of the studio and saw Roderick’s painting hung high above his small work area – the top of the frame was only about six inches from the tall ceiling.
Cheech had his eye on Sonia’s “Sacred Heart” (papercut and linocut original, 36 x 46 inches framed, 2013), which is why we stopped by her studio in the first place (we were on our way to an interview in Pasadena at KPCC with A Martinez for “Take Two”). He ended up purchasing that work, and during our visit, even Sonia’s model Mike Flores stopped by (now a well-known actor,, he answered her call for models for her “Inner Landscape” series).
Like Cheech, I have found, as a collector myself, I am haunted by certain works. My first impulse would be to buy right away, but I often did not have the money to buy art for me. I visited Roderick at his home in Highland Park about a month later and purchased the painting. Shortly thereafter, he was one of the nearly 50 artists who painted their favorites from my selection of photographs in my then-new book “MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Artist District, Downtown Los Angeles.” After the exhibition at Art Share Los Angeles closed, I purchased the three paintings he created based on my photographs: “Electroland,” “Rapture,” and “Zone.”
Roderick Smith is a BFA graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and has studied at the Art Students League and The National Academy of Design in New York and at Instituto Allende in San Miguel, Mexico. He has taught in Los Angeles since 2012, working with artworxLA, a nonprofit educational program. Follow him on Instagram and visit his website at www.rodericksmith.com.