Bacolod Master Artist RODNEY MARTINEZ
I am privileged to interview Bacolod Master Artist RODNEY MARTINEZ where he shared his art, passion, and life.
Many people think that art is only for the elite. That if you follow your passions, you and your family will go hungry.
But such is not true with Bacolod master artist Rodney Martinez. At the age of 77, he is one of the strongest pillars of the art here in the city and an inspiration to many.
I visited Mr. Martinez at his gallery one fine morning. I caught him working on a pastel drawing and his face lit up with when he saw us coming in. He was anticipating our arrival and while waiting, he kept himself busy. But he set his materials aside so that we could talk and he gamely answered my questions, while trying to remember everything, especially dates.
Bacolod Artist Beginnings
When he was a student, Martinez relates that fine arts wasn’t even recognized as a career here in Bacolod, as colleges did not offer them. He went to pursue other degrees, but since his heart was not really into them, he quit all of them. Instead, he went to Manila to take up fine arts at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) and majored in advertising.
While studying, he worked under the tutelage of another Bacolodnon, Larry Tronco. Mr. Tronco was then a professor at UST as well as an advertising executive at a prestigious advertising firm.
Eventually, Martinez came back to Bacolod and practiced his degree for a local business, a nightclub that was popular in the 70s. When he left the company, he dabbled into many things, including being a salesman for a beer company. Martinez only got serious with his paintings in the mid 70s when he joined the teaching staff at La Consolacion College and started the Art Association of Bacolod (AAB) along with a few other comrades. Since then, he devoted his life and passion to the promotion of the arts in Bacolod while building a name for himself.
Martinez created his own style in painting, which he calls “modern style”, a combination of different approaches where the most prominent of which is cubism. “I created my own characters and portrayed feelings through my work,” the respected Bacolod artist explained.
But aside from just painting endlessly, Martinez translated his art into usable forms. He dabbled into terracotta, making decorative as well as functional home decors. Eventually, he abandoned terracotta because it is highly delicate and so he eventually shifted into the use of resin and wood. These are more durable and last longer. He has made a name doing this that his art pieces have been sold all over the country and abroad.
For Martinez is something spiritual as well as therapeutic. I had to ask him about how art affected his life because I felt that despite his age, he still surprisingly sprightly and energetic but…also calm. He said that when he works on a piece of art, all his mind and energies are focused on that particular project that he doesn’t think of anything else.
He gets inspired with anything and everything that he sees so he no longer needs to wait for the art mojo to tickle to get him to work. His creations are not affected by moods as well, as he seemed to have transcended them. That is probably the reason why he is strong and affable, even though eight decades of life is just near.
Martinez is currently busy with the AAB Art Walk that will be opened in February 2017 at the Negros Museum. Works of local artists will be displayed while guests who will visit there can just hang out with the artists, ask questions, and see them in action.
Looking at his life, one can probably say that Martinez’ three main contributions to the art scene in Bacolod is livening up the city’s arts consciousness, making art reachable to the masses, and showing people that artists can make their art sustainable.
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At present, Martinez is often holed up at the Martinez Art Haus at Pacita Arcade, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City. It’s their painting area and gallery in one. You see his works on display. If you are lucky, you will catch him busy at work.
Mr. Rodney Martinez is one of the Bacolod artist members of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP). Some of his works are also on display at the Negros Showroom at the Robinsons City Walk, Lacson Street, Mandalagan, Bacolod City.
Martinez Art Haus
Pacita Arcade, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City
Negros Occidental, Philippines