From the Street to the Museum: These Portraits Are Based on Graffiti

Artist and designer Samuel Rodriguez started out as a graffiti artist. For a number of years, he was self-taught through the graffiti scene, until he later decided to expand his studies by pursuing a Bachelor in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts. Rodriguez has since blended what he absorbed from both experiences to create his current style.

Based out of San José, California, his work has long outgrown its humble beginnings and is now shown in public art spaces, museums, companies, and galleries, as well as published in editorial publications.

“I feel lucky to have studied as an artist in the streets and later in a college,” he shared in an interview with Acclaim Magazine. “In doing so, I always felt like I had to keep my artistry of the streets and love of letters separate from what I was learning in school. I used to separate what I could create, so, for example, I would tell myself ‘this is for graffiti’, and ‘that is for the galleries’, today I don’t. Now I am combining my love of everything together, which you will begin to see unfold in the years to come.”

His work tends to center around two types of portraiture which he refers to as, “Topographical Portraiture” and “Type Faces.” While the Topographical Portraits are made by stylizing a portrait with topographical lines and shapes, in a similar manner to those found through images on geographic maps; his Type Faces incorporate typography and portraiture.

“I want to expand further on the concept of these type-based portraits,” he says. We sure hope his dream comes true!