We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Lizette Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diana Lizette, what are you inspired by?
Walks. I enjoy going on very long walks around Boulder, or wherever I am residing at. When I go on these walks I am not looking for any specific inspiration but I always carry a small journal or film camera. I gravitate towards things that call me and that can be a pattern on the sidewalk or a leaf that has fallen from the tree onto a puddle of water. Sometimes when an unexpected scene finds me and it does something, it creates a feeling that is captivating, pleasurable, and it evokes a word, sentence, or angle to capture a photo. And the things that call me are different each time and it all depends on the time of the day, my mood, whether it’s cold or hot, destination or no destination, and how long the walk is. Sometimes and this is most times I go on a walk aimlessly without any thoughts or persistence to find anything. And I believe that to walk with an emptiness that can be filled with anything is the reason why I let many things be my inspiration. I was recently told that true inspiration is within and I have been sitting with this for a while now, wondering how the external and internal inspiration is always working together.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In the past, I identified only as a writer but throughout the years, and the more I dive into film, painting, performance art, installation, and textile work I say that I am a multimedia artist. Although I like to say experimental artist most often because art for me is an experience, a leading moment that comes from within, and becomes external for others to take and make it their own. This is the greatest thing I have learned about making art, how it can become a gift for others. During the summer I was participating in the Jack Kerouac Summer Writing Program and during one of the weeks, we discussed art as a gift, art as an intimate gift. And we spoke of intimacy as something that presses upon you like a letterpress machine leaves an impression. So, therefore art becoming a gift that leaves an impression on someone or something. To be able to leave an impression on someone is possibly the thing I am most proud of, excited to witness, and in awe when it occurs. I don’t know if there is a specific story I would like the world to know as there are many stories of my path and throughout the years they are always being modified by the present moment. And of course, there have been challenges, many difficult moments, and overcoming them is always a mystery on how to do. I start to think of my paintings and how much layering occurs. In the Spring I painted a black and red painting that within the process it became a challenge itself. The first layer of that painting were words I had written in a letter for someone. Words written in Spanish and with questions like “How much growth occurs at night?” The letter was fully written on the canvas and certain parts of it were traced with black paint. From there I began to add red paint, then black, then red, and from there a layering of both colors. I realized that from writing that letter and then painting over it on the canvas I released something. I think it was a week after working on this painting that I began to feel fear towards it. I couldn’t find myself to stare at it for a long period of time like I do with my other paintings. It was all a strange feeling, a moment in my art that for the first time it created a true challenge. I finished that painting after a couple of weeks and I believe it was compassion that helped me overcome the fear. I gave that painting to a close friend after two months of it existing on my walls. I never gave the letter to the person it was written for. And I ended up burying that letter somewhere near Boulder creek. Throughout all the challenges perhaps the number one thing that gets me through is the knowledge that there will be a release, a death of something that will only bring growth.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I usually will take the bus to Denver from Boulder. The bus arrives at Union Station and there is enjoyment from the amount of commotion that happens inside that location. Of course, before the pandemic, there was more enjoyment in arriving in a crowded place. To watch people walk aimlessly or with a precise destination. If I am arriving early to Union I would most likely grab a coffee at Pigtrain Coffee. I will try to find a spot to sit in to do some writing or just people watching. Of course, if I had a friend with me we would most likely just sit drink our coffees and talk. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is nearby and it’s always a go-to. From there we can always go to other museums around the city like the Denver Art Museum or go to a local bookstore. I enjoy walking around the city without a destination and just unexpectedly finding new places. Any park in Denver is exciting as well to just sit on a bench and watch the birds.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am grateful for everyone in my life and strongly feel that everyone has been an influence on my work. Consciously and subconsciously. My upbringing perhaps has been the greatest influence, my family and the culture itself has always been part of my work in one way or another. I grew up watching many of family members pursuing creativity, such as carpentry, music, painting, sculpture, and writing. Many of these pursuits were very suttle but were strong enough to make me want to create. My dear best friend Rebecca Street really influenced me with poetry and navigating a writing world. And she still continues to influence me in many ways now, perhaps the amount of growth we both have done together is the greatest encouragement. My visual art mentors and writing mentors have also been an important influence, those mentors that challenged my work and pushed me away from my own limitations. My visual art mentor Sue Hammond West truly expanded and brought an awareness of conceptual art that now remains with me while creating. All of the artist friends who shared those moments of critique, writing workshops, and endless excitement to see someone else create. And I appreciate everyone who has come in and out of my life and who without knowing have given me the reason to continue to be an artist.