Interview: Ricardo Rodriguez – From a childhood passion to a profession

14/08/2019
by Laura Sexton

We speak to Spanish artist Ricardo Rodriguez about how his love for F1 began and how he turned his passion into a career.

Ricardo Rodriguez is a Spanish artist whose love for F1 grew when he was a young child; he later turned that love into an art career, creating exquisite portraits of some of F1’s greatest stars.

How it all started

Getting to where he is today, we ask Ricardo about himself and delve in to how it all began.

“I’m a 27-year-old Spanish artist who was born in Valencia. I studied Conservation & Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and studied my final course at Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples.

“Ever since I was young, I was sure that I wanted to dedicate myself to something art or design related in the future. I grew up watching my grandmother and my father painting hyperrealism paintings which was a real inspiration. My other grandmother is a fashion designer meanwhile one of my uncles is a conceptualist artist – so I come from a wide background of artists and designers! I think it was meant to be.

“However, I never dreamed I would become an artist professionally – it all began as just a hobby.”

Inspiration behind the profession

Many artists are inspired by something or someone, so we find out what Ricardo’s biggest inspiration has been growing up and where his passion for F1 comes from.

“Well I would say that until Fernando Alonso’s boom in F1, not many people in Spain followed the sport. But I actually spent my childhood watching F1 because of my father.

“He has been passionate about cars his entire life, and not just F1. In fact, my first memories are of Jávea, where we would spend the summers. I remember my father searching the television for channels which may show the racing, because in Spain they didn’t even relay the races at that point!”

When did you realise you wanted to produce F1 art, we ask Ricardo.
 
“Well, I started painting portraits and then I moved to work on helmets – but mostly ‘Café Racer’-style helmets after going to a motorbike event with my brother; and then things just went from there.

“You have to keep working and keep talking to people too as that is how opportunities arise; like the opportunity to feature my work on Memento Exclusives, for example.”

Creating works of art

We delve in to find out more about Ricardo’s creative process, from his original concept ideas through to his final pieces.
 
“I think the hardest part is choosing the perfect picture to paint. I save a lot of images to my computer and usually I just have a moment where I see one and I know it’s the one.

“But my final product has to be a combination of three things: a good quality image, good framing and most importantly, it has to provoke a feeling of strength.

“I like to be aggressive with the brush stroke, so that the final finish gives you a powerful feeling. I think creating art in black and white also helps you achieves that feeling.

“My creative process is always the same. First of all, I draw the basic lines in pencil so that I get the proportions right from the beginning. Then I start from the darkest parts of the picture and work my way to the lighter ones. I never do sketches beforehand, so the final piece is always the original piece.

“All my artworks are created using pencil work, oil and acrylics presented on canvases.”

Being a fan of the sport, we want to know whether Ricardo has a favourite driver to paint and a favourite piece.

“I grew up supporting Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. But in terms of who I like to base my art on, I have to say I usually prefer the classic drivers because of the style of the pictures and the helmets.
 
“I think I’m getting better with each new piece I make, so I would say my favourite F1 piece at the moment is the latest one I’ve done which is of Daniel Ricciardo.”
 
And finally, we want to know what artwork Ricardo is working on for the future.

“I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and I have just started an Alain Prost piece as well as a Niki Lauda and Max Verstappen one.”

You can find a selection of Ricardo Rodriguez’s artwork here.

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