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October 13, 2005


Hipsta-Veras
by Martha Rodriguez, Estudio Martita


Welcome to the Underworld — and don’t forget your wayfarers,
because it’s stylish here.


Meet Martha Rodriguez: a self-taught, Chicana urban folk artist (and no, that’s not her on the left, that’s her work). We’ve chosen her album Hipsta-Veras as our Day of the Dead feature.

The Day of the Dead, or in Spanish, Dia de los Muertos, falls on November 2 of each year. Rather than being a scary or frightening holiday (it’s frequently lumped together with Halloween), Dia de los Muertos is a joyous time for remembering lost loved ones, reflected by vibrant colors, sugary skull treats and overall, the unique Chicano cultural view of death and loss. Ms. Rodriguez’s work takes that lightheartedness a step further into hipster territory, swirling two distinct cultures together to make a delightful collection.


Martha Rodriguez: Artist’s Statement


I call myself an urban folk artist, and my calling has come after careers in social welfare and education. Attending college during the student movements of the 1970’s, the pride and rich history of my Chicano / Mexicano ancestors became an integral part of my life. My craft has been self-taught, greatly influenced by my life as a native Californian, urban dweller and child of 60s pop. I’m also drawn to the decade of the 1940’s: from pinups to fashion and films, and the people and culture of New Orleans.

I am a painter, mixed media artist, installation artist (create altars for Day of the Dead) and design icon image jewelry.  I enjoy crossing the lines of all mediums and incorporating them into my varied work.

Over the years, some of the artists I’ve found most influential have been the Mexican muralists of the early 20th century, as well as the work of American innovator Andy Warhol. Raised in the Mexican-American Baptist church, I am fascinated by Catholic religious icons, whose spectacle of pain, blood and tears in the ornate stylization of its churches seemed exotic and forbidding.
I’ve found the combination of Warhol-style pop with a Chicano/Latino aesthetic to be a very comfortable fit for my work. My color palette is rich in primary colors, with scarlet red being dominant.  I have always used recycled and found materials and enjoy the process of re-imagining a faded object into a shining, new statement.

I am a Chicana. My artistic endeavors reflect the duality of growing-up American with roots forever planted in beloved Mexico.



Bring Out Yer Dead: La Virgen de Calavera