Artist Transforms Six Iconic S.F. Neighborhoods into their Own Countries

Bay Area Artist Lordy Rodriquez Reimagines Six San Francisco Neighborhoods in the Latest Art on Market Street Poster Series

SAN FRANCISCO, January 15, 2014 – In his practice, artist Lordy Rodriguez investigates how we use visual language to represent ourselves. In his latest series, Strangerhood, commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) for the Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series, he takes his investigation a step further. Using the language of cartography, Rodriguez reconfigures factual locations to create fictional territories that illustrate the cumulative identity of a whole neighborhood. Strangerhood features six maps depicting six iconic San Francisco neighborhoods reimagined as independent countries. The series will be on view form January 14 until April 11, 2014 along Market Street between the Embarcadero and 8th Street.

“Lordy Rodriguez’s poster series explores the identity of place,” said Director for Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “Strangerhood encourages the viewer to think about the signifiers of place and how they influence our perception and experience of a neighborhood.”

Strangerhood focuses on Chinatown, North Beach, The Mission, The Castro, Haight-Ashbury, and Fisherman’s Wharf, neighborhoods chosen because of their strong cultural identities and tourism economies. Before starting his drawings, Rodriguez visited each neighborhood and photographed storefronts, merchandise, murals, local architecture and color schemes. According to the artist, “How a neighborhood “dresses” itself, like what kind of stores are there or what kind of merchandise is sold there, reflect the mood and feel of a place.” Rodriquez used the patterns and textures collected during his visits to identify specific areas or “states” within the map. He then layered the text found in the neighborhood’s signage on the map to represent “cities” or “towns”.

“The visual languages that are used in each of these neighborhoods are what I want to appropriate and manipulate in the same way that I have manipulated the map language,” says Rodriguez. “The Mission is a hodgepodge of Mexican markets and trendy hip restaurants. The mixture of different languages reveals a changing neighborhood. On the contrary, Fisherman’s Wharf reveals itself as a place that has already gone through cultural and economic change. There are no debates about to whom the neighborhood caters.”

Artist Biography
Lordy Rodriguez was born in 1976 in the Philippines, raised in Louisiana and Texas, and currently lives in Hayward, CA. He obtained his B.F.A. degree in 1999 from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and his MFA degree from Stanford University in 2008. For almost two decades he has been working on a series of hand-made ink drawings that uses cartography as a major point of appropriation to examine the structure of visual languages in relation to culture, history, and identity. His recent exhibitions include “Code Switch”, Hosfelt gallery San Francisco, CA (2013), “The Map is Not the Territory”, Hosfelt gallery New York, New York (2011), “Surface Depths”, Nevada Art Museum (2009), “States of America”, Austin Museum of Art (2009), “Optimism in the Age of Global War”, 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey, (2007), “The California Biennial”, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2006), “Dessins et des autres”, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France (2004).

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