Patricia Roldan works in a diversity
of media, including digital imagery,
photography, pastels, graphite, acrylic,
styrofoam carvings, found objects
from nature, and liquid metals.
Your paintings are beautiful representation of nature. Why nature in particular?
Nature provides intricate and complex dialogs, each distinctive to its own species, each articulating unique pattern diversity, yet these flora’s blend into the landscape almost invisibly. While living in the Philippines, I fell in love with the tropical life in its rough and native habitat, bringing inexplicable peace and a place of refuge. They each offer unique shapes, sizes, colors, fragrances, etc. In a large group, they impart a menagerie of bravado, but individually, we perceive exclusivity within their species and elements. Each exhibits their own persona, touching us in different ways.
Do you hold a formal degree in the arts?
Yes, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, from Florida Atlantic University.
What careers besides Art have you had?
I am retired from the UnitedStates Air Force (16 years) as an aircraft mechanic, having served in both the Persian War and Persian Conflict.
What is your current involvement in the arts?
In 1999 I Founded “Visual Matters”, Primarily artistic creations business specializing in Tropicalis acrylic paintings and three-dimensional works, using styrofoam and a proprietary poly-based material. I also handle graphic communications, web design, social media integration of the projects. I am the current Program Director at Diaspora Vibe Gallery owned by Rosie Gordon-Wallace.
Within the nature theme, you focus on the many species of tropical flora and fauna. Why tropical?
I explore particularly Caribbean/tropical flora, for their boldness and year-round exuberance. Of particular interest is bringing out their details, exposing their innermost personalities and conversations. We form various relationships with our plants, we tend them, nurture them; we (try to) keep them healthy. In return, they bring pleasure to our sense of vision and smell, bring calmness to our hearts, and joy to those with whom we share them.
Your latest series is a Three Dimensional Series. How do you achieve that effect?
The Lady in Pink Series is my latest endeavour and has taken me into the world of ‘sculptural relief’. This style involves the use of 1/2” thick Styrofoam that is carved and shaped to a thin relief of the image in to produce a 3D effect. The eyes have to be engaged to determine whether it is a painting or a sculpture. In the Lady in Pink – I created imagery of the captivating Banana Flower. Inside the petals only three flowers are sculpted (the rest are painted) yet the effect is completely three dimensional.
What do you use to create the relief of the petals?
They are made out of a proprietary polymer blend material I have created with experimenting and perfecting this process. The illusion is that the bottom petal is actually real. It is treated with a protective coating to withstand heat and cold and is very sturdy.
Your pictures so closely resemble photographs, how do you achieve that effect?
I see the objects with their intricate details – I see the patterns that each plant builds and how they connect and separate. I am also technical so I see the flora in a mechanical way – and I photograph the plant and frame the picture exactly as I am going to paint it. For example in the Heliconia series– these plants are native to the Caribbean and South Florida – I took several pictures to create each painting.
You have a unique and vivid color scheme and depth. How do you create your style?
I never use black – for the shadowing – it’s a darker version of the color featured so if in the petal there is a petal wilted – it’s a dark purple. I mix my own colors from the primaries. The four basics; red, yellow, blue and white. I love to create the colors I add and blend until I find an exact match to my photographs… to the plant or flower.
Was there a moment of epiphany that had you decide to become an artist?
My grandparents were all artists and so was my dad. He inspired me in my first career as a mechanic in the Air Force. My dad was with NASA and worked on the Apollo 11 mission.As a child – I was intimidated by paint – I worked with pencils and pastels. I loved to draw peoples’ hands. I would sneak in art books and
draw on my own. I worked with my dad as a commercial artist in Colorado and I was deeply influenced by the diversity of the material I was exposed to, including tools and heavy equipment. My daily routine ranged from post-hole digging for mounting signage to hand lettering roadside billboards on scaffolding in the winter. I also was one of the last artists in the area who hand cut mylar for silk screening, before it changed over to photographic and digital technology.
What are some recent exhibits wherein your work was featured?
International Cultural Exchange – Somewhere, Nowhere, You Can Live in Paradise, Queen’s Park Gallery, Barbados – 2011; Carib~bean, The Way You Like It - August 2010; International Cultural Exchange - As Far As The Eye Can See, Universidad del Sagrado Corazon, Puerto Rico – March 2010; Williams Island Annual Art Walk – February 2010; Ramble Event, Fairchild’s Botanic Garden – November 2009.
Finally – please share with us a message that you would like to have AT readers “listen to” as a voice of an artist.
I work in a gallery – sadly, many times I see there is no value for arts and since art is selective, personal and everyone’s view on it is different I would want philanthropists to never stop looking to fund to produce works of art. If you do not value the arts you eliminate documentation of civilization – through paintings, sculptures , fabrics and so many other mediums. Painting is an emotional process. If I can not make art – it drives me crazy – I NEED to be an artist!!! I do carpentry – sculpture – design. BUT artists cannot work for free. It’s very difficult to make a living as an artist. Time, support and money is what is needed to support us. If I could create a career path for artists I would envision stipends to create a series of work for corporations or individuals. Devotion and time – those are the true commodities to create a body of work.