This week my quick-fire artistic interview features a chat with an insanely talented gentleman called Vlad Rodriguez. I’ve been keeping an eye on Vlad’s work for quite some time, but it was the arrival of a wonderfully unique piece of art linked to the Alien franchise that really attracted my attention toward the end of last year, and made me want to learn more about this Miami based pop-culture artist.
The piece in question is called “Natum Corpus” and it features a young Ellen Ripley, tenderly cradling an infant Xenomorph, while an almost ghost-like adult Alien looms behind her, forming and suggesting a dark connection. She is holding the young Alien in a very protective way, but her expression is thoughtful and quite clearly sad.
To me, Vlad’s art visually explores the notion that Ripley is trapped within a circle of confrontation with the Alien species, to a point where she may even form a twisted kind of bond with them. It’s an idea that was touched upon in Alien 3 with dialogue such as – “You’ve been in my life so long, I can’t remember anything else.” – And of course Alien Resurrection had Ripley make the ultimate connection by blending her DNA with Alien DNA, leaving our heroine confused and fascinated by the creatures. She even had time for a quick cuddling session! She had become their mother.
It’s crazy to think that when I first discovered this image the idea of another Alien movie featuring Ripley seemed like an impossibility, but here we are just a few short months later and the impossible will now be happening in the very near future, thanks to Neill Blomkamp. It will be fascinating to see what an older Sigourney Weaver can bring to the role of Ripley, and to explore the tangled web of emotions she must feel every time she comes face to face with an Alien.
Vlad recently freed up some time to answer a few quick questions about his life and art, and of course you can feast your eyes on some more of his work linked to the horror genre throughout this article …
Halloween Love: First of all can you tell me about your journey to this point. Were you artistic / creative from a young age?
Vlad Rodriguez: “Art has been my biggest passion since my earliest memories. Everyday I think about something new to work on. I try to work with every theme and genre that is available, in order to not become stuck with my personal preferences or get trapped with repeated themes. I believe I was a child with a great talent for painting and drawing, I was always able to work with different materials on different surfaces. Years later, I studied at the ‘Fine Arts School’ of Peru.”
HL: I first became aware of your work after discovering some of your horror themed art online. Can you give me a basic idea of your thinking when you approach starting a new piece?
VR: “My Creative Process is very consistent. I start with a draft, that is constantly changing before it becomes a concept. Then I move to the election of a color scheme and onward toward the final development of the piece. Transmitting the correct atmosphere and expression is always the objective of my pieces.”
HL: Can you tell me more about your Alien / Ripley piece ‘Natum Corpus’ which was very well received online. What inspired you to portray the characters in this unique way?
VR: “Natum Corpus” is a tribute that reinterprets Alien in a new way, and is inspired by one of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits called “Las dos Fridas” (1939). There is a sad nature in that Frida Kahlo painting that desperately fascinates me. I wanted to represent Ripley and the Xenomorph in a different way, like the disconsolate creators of their own history.”
HL: Always a tough question, but do you have a finished piece you are most proud of? Perhaps something that exceeded your expectations when completed?
VR: “I would select more than just one finished piece and consider everything from the last few years, which have been very productive. They gave me the opportunity to show and create things that have reached many more people. If I had to talk about one piece, I think I would choose my Blade Runner art because it opened many doors for me. Just for that reason alone I will always be grateful.”
HL: Do you have a passion for the horror genre and do you have a favorite horror movie?
VR: “The 80’s and 90’s, opened the door for the horror genre. There was not that many TV restrictions and my sisters and I were able to enjoy a lot when we secretly watched movies like – Cannibal Holocaust, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist and The Shining. We also used to read the classic Stephen King novels, not to mention comics from the 70s’ that my father had and collected (Vampirella, Tales from the Crypt, Fangoria, Famous Monsters, Creepy, etc).”
HL: Are there any movies or characters you would love to illustrate but haven’t had the chance yet?
VR: “I’d love to illustrate just about everything really, but if I had to choose one horror movie it would be something linked to The Exorcist. I think it would be an incredible piece both in the composition of a movie poster and a portrait of Linda Blair.”
HL: Finally, what does the immediate future hold for you? Any upcoming plans or projects you can talk about?
VR: “The work in my Studio, now in Miami, is increasing with each passing week. This is the future for me. I have many projects underway for private collectors and shows – and I am simply looking forward to producing many more new pieces of original art.”
I want to say a huge thank you to Vlad for finding the time to answer my questions and allowing me to share his work. To see much more of what he has created and stay informed regarding any new work he produces, head over to his facebook page and give it a LIKE.
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