Copper in the Arts

July 2011

Marilyn Rodriguez: The Midas Touch in Bronze

By Ashley Morris

Marilyn Rodriguez in her studio Marilyn Rodriguez in her studio

Photograph courtesy of Mariyln Rodriguez

Even as a young artist, representational artist Marilyn Rodriguez was inspired by true life form and the human figure.

"Ever since I was a little girl, I was drawing people, but I was never satisfied with just a canvas and I wasn't sure why," says Rodriguez.

After college graduation in 1981, she purchased a one-way ticket to Europe and hopped from one museum to the next, becoming immersed in the fine art sculpture section of each.

"I realized at that point, that's what I wanted to do," she says.

But Rodriguez's artistic hands would be forced to remain idle. She instead went into real estate as a broker, a real moneymaker for her, in San Francisco. "But I was unhappy - and didn't want to look back at 90 and realize I was always unhappy," she says. "No one encouraged me to be a fine artist while growing up. My mom was an English teacher and my father was an attorney."

So in the early 1990s, Rodriguez returned to school for art, training extensively for five years under master sculptor Harriet Moore. "No one taught classical sculpture with life models like Harriet did, and that's what I was passionate about," she says.

And as she was perfecting her passion, she also discovered a hidden talent for teaching. "While I was studying with Harriet, I started teaching others and it just came naturally," she says. "Fellow students would encourage me to, teach, saying, 'You seem to love sharing this with others.'"

Dreaming Artist Dreaming Artist, bronze sculpture

Photograph courtesy of Mariyln Rodriguez

Today, according to Rodriguez, she is the only private teacher of classical human figure sculpture, using professional models, in the San Francisco area. Since 1996, she has taught classes in sculpture, and her student's work is cast in bronze at the Artwork Foundry in Berkeley.

Rodriguez is renowned for her bronze sculptures that fluidly capture the human figure and animals through her signature depictions of movement, energy, and elegance. Her equine sculpture limited editions (usually only sculpted nine at a time) have been nationally recognized. She keeps busy working as Metamorphosis Landscape Design's main outdoors fountain sculptor, working with local and internationally known interior designers and working as curator of the fine art exhibits of the annual Home and Art Show in the San Francisco's Bay Area.

Rodriguez also hosts national fine art sculpture workshops at the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum, including weekend workshops on the human hand. "How an artist renders the hand is a telltale sign of what kind of artist he or she is," says Rodriguez. "There are so many bone landmarks."

Rodriguez, who keeps busy on her own commission work, is also teaching students and interested, aspiring artists through her new book, due to be released in a few months, The Human Skeletal System: From an Artist's Perspective .


Marilyn Rodriguez, MIR Studio, San Francisco, CA California, (415) 948-3099

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