Aubrey Rhodes, a self-taught artist hailing from California, uses her canvas to delve into and dissect contemporary societal issues and personal challenges.
Born Aubrey Perry, she has been making waves in the global art sphere with her thought-provoking pieces that often blur the line between literature and visual art, creating a unique, immersive experience for the viewer.
'Birds' - Aubrey Rhodes' artistic masterpiece, encapsulating the complex themes of socio-economic disparity, privilege, racism, and more.
A Journey Through Art
Born and raised in California, Aubrey graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2005 with an MFA degree in Fiction Writing. She then taught Fiction Writing at the University of California, Berkeley for two years, but she found her creative self unfulfilled. Aubrey had always been drawn to the arts, especially drawing and painting. Therefore, in 2007, she decided to switch gears and pursue a full-time career in painting.
Despite not having any formal education in painting, her passion, dedication, and the relentless drive to express herself have led her to create pieces that are not only visually stunning but also carry a deep, often challenging narrative. Her paintings are not just visual representations of her inner thoughts and frustrations about current-day issues but also a reflection of her journey as a self-taught artist navigating the complex world of art.
Unafraid to tackle uncomfortable topics, Aubrey’s work often addresses socio-economic inequality, inner human conflict, societal hypocrisy, and social stereotypes. She describes her style as figurative, with a strong duality between literary and image-based elements. This unique style allows her work to stand out in the industry, as she does not paint ""for an audience,"" but rather to express her inner thoughts and angst regarding contemporary issues.
Inspiration Behind the Canvas
One of the pieces Aubrey is most proud of is a painting titled 'Birds.' Created between 2021 and 2022, this painting is a testament to Aubrey's unique artistic approach. 'Birds' is more than just a painting; it is a narrative encapsulating human nature, woman nature, stereotypes, and the cruelty women can inflict on one another. The painting also delves into themes of socio-economic disparity, oppression, privilege, and racism.
The painting's creation was quite a journey, taking place during the restrictive COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia. Despite the challenges, Aubrey used this time to deeply contemplate the colour palette and composition of her piece, resulting in a painting that is as much a symbol of personal expression as it is a commentary on societal issues.
Connecting with the Audience
While Aubrey admits to struggling with the promotional aspect of being an artist, she has found success through her social media platforms, self-represented exhibitions, and representation through Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. Her humble and authentic approach to her artistry has allowed her to connect deeply with her audience and collectors.
As for the future, Aubrey's plans are simple: to keep creating. She aims to continue exploring new techniques and styles, always challenging herself to grow as an artist. Despite the challenges and self-doubt that often plague her, Aubrey remains resilient, using her painting as an act of rebellion against the norms and expectations of the art world.
Behind The Masterpiece: 'Birds'
One of Aubrey's most significant works is a painting titled 'Birds,' completed at the end of 2021. This piece is featured on the landing page of her website and is a testament to her unique artistic style. The painting measures 6 feet by 10 feet, and its creation was a journey that began in 2018. The inspiration behind 'Birds' came from a range of sources, including vintage magazines, real-life events, and Aubrey's personal experiences and observations.
Composed of multiple layers of symbolism and meaning, 'Birds' explores themes such as wealth, privilege, socio-economic disparity, oppression, racism, and the cruelty that women can inflict on one another. The painting also incorporates elements of animal nature versus human nature, represented through the inclusion of white doves as a symbol of peace and love amidst chaos. This piece reflects Aubrey's ability to create a narrative through her art, using her canvas to express her thoughts and feelings on pressing societal issues.
The creation of 'Birds' took place during the stringent COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia. Despite the emotional rollercoaster of the lockdown, the time allowed Aubrey to contemplate deeply on the color palette for the painting. Inspired by her favourite Rothko painting, ""No. 14, 1960,"" she chose a harmonious blend of blue, orange, and eggplant wine-color. The resulting painting is a testament to Aubrey's resilience and dedication to her craft, a piece that symbolises more than its intended themes, becoming a personal reflection of the artist herself.
Overcoming Challenges and Looking Forward
Like many artists, Aubrey has faced numerous challenges in her journey. One of the biggest has been her self-doubt and the ""Imposter Syndrome."" As a self-taught artist in an industry often dominated by academically trained individuals, she has had to continually teach herself and learn as she goes. Despite these challenges, Aubrey remains defiant and resilient, using her art as a form of rebellion against the norms.
Moving forward, Aubrey plans to continue creating and growing as an artist. She aims to keep exploring new techniques and styles, refusing to be boxed into one type of art. Her goal is to ensure that her art continues to change and evolve, reflecting her personal growth and thoughts on contemporary issues. Aubrey embodies the true spirit of an artist, painting not for fame or fortune, but for the love of expression and the desire to provoke thought and challenge societal norms through her work.