We had the good fortune of connecting with Vangie Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vangie, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Creativity lives inside of me. I was born this way, so giving up isn’t an option. Yes, there were times that life got busy, like when I had 3 kids under four years of age and my job as a stay at home mom became my focus. The paintbrushes became buried under piles of Legos and Barbies; but the days of dirty diapers and preschool projects have turned into high school graduations and college applications, and my creativity accompanied us all of those years. It is impossible to give up a piece of your soul despite the distractions of life. Those parts of me embedded in my DNA, sometimes wait patiently and other times don’t allow me rest. Awake or asleep, inspiration comes. This gift that God has placed in my heart inspires me, heals me, identifies me and gives me hope. It will always live in me and for that reason, I can never abandon it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My grandmother’s house was warm and inviting where I found my quiet inspiration. Her walls were decorated with religious icons and statues that gave her comfort and hope, while outside her front door, she found an escape in her garden with flowers of all colors and textures. Surely, these memories molded my love of hispanic culture and nature. Looking back at some of these visuals in my original work, it’s easy to criticize the structure of the flowers or the flat nature of the icons, but the greatest treasure in retrospection, is the gift of wisdom learned. In recent years, I have learned to trust and look forward to my Intuition. Where there was rigidity, there is now grace. Where limitations once existed, vision is now limitless. I have moved from the space of perfection to a measure of progress. Saying yes to the possibilities God has placed before me, has opened the door to countless opportunities. Currently, I offer custom artwork in acrylic and oil, murals, small group and corporate paint parties, as well as a new apparel line. There is so much to be exited about!
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?
Home-bound during Covid has certainly highlighted my needs/wants list. For example, as I write this, I need an oat milk latte from Lux, and I really want avocado toast from Fame Caffe. The skinny margaritas from Otro Cafe are always delicious and the prawns and lemon merengue pie from Buck n Rider are unmatched. Another weekly need are tacos and homemade tortillas from Taco Chelo. Phoenix is certainly a place for foodies and for soaking in some Vitamin D. We love the Phoenix mountain preserve for all levels of hiking and sunset views. Bike riding along Murphy’s Bridle Path on Central Avenue down to the Uptown Farmer’s market is a perfect mid-week and Saturday activity. Mural sightings, creatives and great food can also can be found at the 16th Street Arts District as well as the Roosevelt Row Arts District. Finally, Mucho Mas Art Studio and Frida’s Garden are fun for shopping and community events that support Hispanic artists.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Have you read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho? I picked this book up about 7 years ago as recommended by my daughter’s middle school English instructor. To say it changed my life simplifies it’s affect. This story helped me retell my own, taking me back to my childhood and who I was prior to the world changing me. I became reconnected with my passion of art and creativity. I found myself. Many people have supported me along the way, but currently, my kids and my husband are my biggest cheerleaders. My children, ages 22, 19 and 18, have become my instructors. Their expertise in marketing, economics and engineering, guide me with modern methods in technology, structure and growth potential. I am also grateful for my husband’s business expertise and willingness to say yes. Having supported his career for 25 years, he is now watching me soar, and is enjoying being at my side.
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Alisa Brooks Manuel Banuelos