Rudolph Montanez | Staten Island, New York USA
I am a Mexican American, born the youngest of sixteen children. I grew up working the fields in the San Joaquin Valley in California. After serving in Viet Nam (U.S. Army 5th Special Forces, 1967-1968), I found my vocation and entered the University of California under the G.I. Bill to study art and art education.
In 1975, I was invited to exhibit in the Whitney Biennial. I moved to New York City where I exhibited in numerous solo and group shows until I began teaching full time as a NYC public high school art teacher. Last year, I was granted a sabbatical, which gave me the opportunity to concentrate once again on my art and renew my investigations for new work.
My work deals with the making of word sculptures that have both literal and ambiguous meanings. The words are photographed for documentation and exhibition purposes. I have also found this to be a great teaching tool especially with students coming from different cultural backgrounds. They learn to apply this concept to their own language in making 3-dimensional words.
I consider myself to be a re-emerging artist. In 2008, I was awarded a grant for Excellence in the Visual Arts from the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI). For this grant, I created “Baseball Words for Kids”, a series of ten baseball related words for children ages 6 to 12. They were exhibited in the windows of Staten Island Yankee Stadium as part of Summerfest. For a show at Gallery 6, I produced a diptych, 1983-2008, portraying myself as Fidel Castro. I also received a JP Morgan Chase grant this year to do an exhibition on Immigration / Refugees.
My favorite quote is “A picture is worth a thousand words and a word is worth a thousand pictures”.