Spotlight on Artist Celeste Rodriguez
The Elective’s digital art museum this week features an illustration made by Celeste Rodriguez from White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrations—AP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).
From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.
This week we feature an illustration made by Celeste Rodriguez from White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
Here’s Celeste’s statement on the work:
“Every day we walk through our lives, performing activities with a glimpse of a machine without ever thinking twice. As a young artist, I wanted to shed light on the life that we most often forget the importance of: food. I specifically decided on fresh produce because of the vibrant colors and textures that our eyes are so used to seeing but at times never appealing.
“With each piece of artwork, my mind was filled with all the ways fresh produce helps us to live; to thrive. It is the energy that helps us do so. It is what our bodies deserve. As I continued to marvel at the simplicity of it, I strived to challenge myself to find different ways to best showcase how complex it can be. This includes focusing on the interior of produce; using produce in our everyday activities, like walking through grocery stores and seeing the food piled together; and finally in how we interact with the produce, like preparing a meal.
“I experimented with both prism colors and acrylic paint, and ultimately enjoyed acrylic paint because of the opacity and vibrancy of the colors. Acrylic paint gave me the ability to completely match and elevate the colors to my preference. It allowed me to fully develop my pieces and do more than just the word food could mean with every stroke of my brush. This helped me truly showcase the abundant colors in produce that come from all around our world.
“Every piece I worked on required a different strategy because each product was unique in the same way we are uniquely made. My goal was to capture this with food. They all have their own unique pattern and texture that separates them apart. While certain foods may be pleasing to others, others might believe the opposite, but at day's end food will either be consumed, thrown out, or taken back into the earth. The same can be said for us. It is easy to get lost in a fast-paced society. Nevertheless, it is best to slow down and look at your surroundings. Fresh produce is one we generally don't ponder, yet it is a key to unlock a new form of living. It is human nature.”
And here are a few other works from Celeste’s portfolio:
Part of my sustained investigation, this piece shows the beauty/effect of the produce when we prepare our food.
Part of my sustained investigation, this piece shows the beauty/effect of the everyday encounter with produce.
Part of my sustained investigation, this piece shows the beauty/effect of the produce we encounter at the store.
Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.