AW: Tell us a bit about yourself; what are you into, what do you like
to do outside of the studio?
AR: I believe people naturally enjoy identifying with other people and their lives. Through experience I feel I've provided a sense of identification and remembrance for the viewer, simultaneously paying homage to my subjects. The materials I use are warm comforting materials that have lived a life, or that have embodied the lives of the people that have used them. Being an artist has provided me to be more of a student, an educator, a historian, and an activist.
AR: I try to be as versatile with my art as possible. Currently working with drawing, sculpting and installations, I'd like to do some more painting and maybe some "street art".
AR: I don't make it a practice for me to search for inspiration but I've come across amazing artists from the past and present that have inspired me. In the current "street art" scene Jorge Rodriguez
AW: In terms of your work, what is it that most influences you; why did you choose the media that you work with?
AR: I get most of my influence from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. Being Puerto Rican, culture, traditions and history are a very important part of who I am and how I channel my work. Choosing wood as the main element helps create the feeling of life. Its versatility, the natural colors, the grains, the individuality of each piece not ever being the same, it ages, it warps ... etc. There's comfort in it because it's natural.
AW: I’ve noticed that age seems to be a major motif in your work, that you focus on innocence of youth as well as the experience of wizened maturity; Are those choices intentional? How do you decide on which imagery you use, and the different appropriated objects that accompany each piece?
AR: Yes, I work with elders and children in most of my work because without the knowledge of our past, our future will be misguided. The elders being the keepers of our past, our history and traditions, and full of experience. The children being the innocent vessels to be filled with values and culture but also having the silent burden of early responsibility, and carrying on traditions. Choosing images and objects come natural, it's not planned. I believe it's a spiritual moment as well. I go through all my images and pull the ones that call out to me. As the drawing develops, artifacts callout to me. Some combinations are intentional, and some are given spiritually.
AR: They all have specific narratives told below the surface, but they are not always told by me. I enjoy hearing what other people feel when viewing my work. I'm fascinated with hearing about memories and stories. There's been instances where I've created a narrative for a piece I felt was appropriate, and ended up changing it because a viewer shared such a touching story about how it reminded them of a dear family member.
AR: I would have to say honoring the lives of my subjects, celebrating my Latin culture through its struggles and perseverance, and being acknowledged by the elders and my peers for doing it with sincerity, respect, and love.