For the past year, Miami based artist Marilyn Rondon has been on my radar. At first glance, you're attracted to Marilyn's tattoos: But there's more to her than just that and on one of her latest trips to New York, I had the opportunity to meet up the Venezuelan beauty. While our time together was brief, our conversations from technology to being women of color, had me energized all day. It's safe to say that Marilyn is a radiant soul, inside and out:
How does being a Latina woman influence your style of work?
I think it just makes me more conscious to include more than one race when illustrating. I love playing with colors and being brown gives me such a nice pallet to incorporate so many eye pleasing color combinations.
Although you're a multi-media artist, which medium did you fall in love with first and how?
I’ve always loved taking photos. Although photography I think is the one medium I’m worst at, it’s my absolute favorite thing in the world to do. When I fall in love with a person, I always want to photograph everything about that person so I can freeze time, memories. Whenever I have a partner who isn’t as open to being photographed, or we don’t spend much time together I then tend to carry them into my two dimensional paintings and illustrations and my work becomes my main way of communicating with them directly in a public form, although it ends up going over their heads.
It’s crazy but most of my work is usually for my lover or “muse” and tends to be about how they draw so many emotions out of me. The only way I can humanly process my experience is by making self-reflective and narrative art, or I illustrate song lyrics that I directly relate with in that moment of my life.
Probably my favorite series you've done so far would have to be your instillation from last year entitled “Latina Seeks Thug”, where you left a craigslist ad up for 17 hours and printed the emails you received. Where did the inspiration behind that idea initially come from? Was the idea of printing and hanging the emails up in a room always there for you?
The idea initially came from a conversation I was having in passing with a friend about how all I really wanted out of life at the moment was to find a “thug to have a baby with”. When the words came out of my mouth, I immediately followed the sentence with “I should make a craigslist ad and look for a thug…and then make that a zine”.
A few days passed and finally I posted the ad before bed one night and woke up the following day with over 40 emails in my inbox. The first 8 hours the ad was up it didn’t even have a photo but I already had a line of thugs ready to get me pregnant. I wanted to see how far I could take it and then uploaded a very goofy photo of myself blowing a kiss at the camera with hearts floating around my head and then more emails came flowing in. It was pretty hilarious. I then took the joke too far and posted a photo that was a bit too ‘sexy’ for craigslist and the ad was immediately flagged and removed.
I started to collage the images in photoshop and made the zine in about a week because I was literally sitting on what felt like gold at the time. I was then approached about being a part of a group show in little Haiti where I could choose a space in an abandoned church which is being turned into a condo or something now, idk. Anyway, they were planning this group show and I found this little office looking room in the space and thought it would be perfect to wallpaper with the emails. It just kind of worked out exactly perfect too, like I had just the right amount of emails to cover the room 100% in these pervy replies. It’s what I believe the best work I’ve made yet and I’m trying to explore this aspect of my work more in the future.
Currently, your zine Dat Ass is about to be on volume 4, releasing this summer. How has the response been so far to the series?
The response to this series has been great. I like printing them in small runs of 69 as well so it makes them a lil more rare.
One misconception about you?
I’m very petite in real life, whenever people meet me they are shocked at how physically tiny I am.
And finally, words to live by?
Thoughts become things, choose the good ones.