The cowboy industry lost a great talent when then seven-year-old Allan Rodewald picked up a paintbrush. Rodewald grew up in Michigan and according to his mom, he always wanted to be a cowboy. Then he took an art lesson and suddenly he stopped playing cowboys and started drawing them instead.
"I took my first art lesson when I was seven years old. My parents saw that I got it, I understood [working] in two dimensions so they took me to more lessons. I was in second grade and I said, 'I'm going to be an artist.' In fifth grade, I sold an oil painting. That's when I started saying, 'I'm an artist.' [When God was handing out talent,] he gave me a big slice of art and not too much of anything else. From the beginning, it was like I had no other choice in life and I'm super happy with that."
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What he does: "On my passport, it says artist," Rodewald tells us. "There was a time in my career when I was doing lots of other things, such as murals, and I didn't call myself an artist. I would go to a show and people would introduce me as an artist and I would correct them. I'd say, 'Don't call me an artist yet.' Then in 2000, I built my studio and that really recharged my fine art career. Now I think I'm an artist."
Why he likes it: "It's super exciting for me to create something that I haven't done before," Rodewald says, though he admits that he's sometimes tempted to make his fine art more commercial.
"When someone purchases a painting at a show and another person says something like, 'Oh, I would have bought that if it had been red.' The next time you go into the studio you're tempted to paint it in red. We all deal with that temptation. For me, the pull to create something new is stronger than the pull to recreate something I've already done.
"I see artists who do something and it's successful, it's popular and then they don't want to deviate from that. Me, I'm not afraid of working in two or three different styles. Even if it's good work, it may not be the right thing to do. If I have a painting that's working and I like it, but it's too similar to something I've done before, I think I have to go through this and beyond this. There's something else out there that I'm supposed to be doing."
What inspires him: Rodewald says nature often inspires him, natural textures and organic shapes. Driving down the road he might see a shadow or he might see a reflection on his TV set while he's watching a football game. "Sometimes I stand over my drop cloths and think, 'Oh my gosh - I have to remember this!' Right now, I'm inspired in just getting up [in the morning.] I run through paintings in my head before I go to bed and I wake up ready to work on them."
This story continues on the next page.If not this, then what:
"Really, I had no other choice in life but to be an artist. When I get confused or try to do something else, God comes in and says, 'Go back to your paintbrush!' He usually punishes me in some way when I get away from art for too long. He takes my money, he takes everything until I go back to my paintbrush and then things work out."
If not here, then where: "Five years ago I might have said New York or London, maybe LA. Now my goal is to have exhibitions in those three cities, but not necessarily to live there. Houston is a good home base for me right now. [Sometimes] I think about living in a mountainous area. I always liked Santa Fe."
What's next: Rodewald recently completed a film project with friend and filmmaker Morris Malakoff. Rodewald had originally thought about making a short documentary, showing him creating a painting from start to finish. Malakoff had another idea. (See a short preview to the film above.)
"He didn't do a documentary on me; he did a short art film. It was me creating my art and him creating a movie around that. He started with me cutting the canvas and stretching it, putting on the base coats all the way to the end. There wasn't any dialogue in it. He never showed my face. It turned out really well and now he's looking at maybe entering it in some film festivals."
More collaborations with Malakoff are in the offering and several exhibitions are coming up later this year including a show in December.
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Anne-Joelle Galley, artist Michelle Ellen Jones, ballroom dancer and actress Morris Malakoff, photographer and filmmaker Terrill Mitchell, dancer Deji Osinulu, photographer Mason Sweeney, artist K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer
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