A Q&A with Artist, Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

Filipino-American artist Marianne Angeli Rodriguez is an abstract contemporary painter based in Covington, Louisiana. She spent 15 years living abroad in West Africa, Central America, Europe & Asia with her family before landing in the US. Rodriguez then went on to study in New York where she obtained a B.A. in media studies & anthropology from the City University of New York at Hunter College, and a degree in fashion design from FIT.

Marianne lives in the historic district of Covington, LA with her husband and five rescue pets, where she quietly opened the doors to her gallery during the pandemic. The Marianne Angeli Rodriguez Gallery, located at 323 N. Columbia St.Covington, LA will host an official grand opening on Saturday, February 27th from 6-9 p.m. It’s the perfect time to check it out!

How long were you working on your art before you were able to open your own gallery?

I was quietly working on my art for two years before opening my first public location which functioned as a ‘studio gallery’. I worked out of and displayed work in a 370 square foot space in downtown Covington. The truth is I wasn’t entirely ready to take on this space, but we downsized our home and I needed a dedicated space to continue working and figured this was the time to take a leap. After almost three years in that space, I eventually outgrew it and decided to transition into our current location just around the corner where we’ve been since March 2020.

marianne rodriguez

What has the most rewarding part of owning your own gallery been so far?

The most rewarding part is having full creative control of every aspect of the space and business. Designing and painting the front of the building was a lot of fun and it’s given the gallery its own unique identity in this quaint little town. It’s also empowering to have the liberty to showcase whichever works I choose, put on events, and be able to invite other collaborators.

Is there a particular artist or artists who have inspired you most?

I grew up with a lot of folk art in my family home created by local artisans from the countries we migrated to and this is what ignited my love of art from the beginning. There’s a level of understated mastery in the depth of skill found in hand-crafted/folk art. When I wasn’t yet painting, I would tag-along with my book-worm husband to the second-hand bookstore and indulge myself in books by the old masters like Picasso, Matisse, Klimt, and so on.

I love art that is from the soul, imperfect and not overly polished, authentic and not predictable, and injected with a lot of love and personality. 

How have you been able to apply your education as well as your time spent living abroad to your career?

I pursued my studies in NYC where I acquired two degrees unrelated to fine art, but my education has been invaluable in navigating the ups and downs of operating a small business. Having that exposure and training, especially in a cut-throat place like New York, added a level of tenacity to my mindset. I have a background in PR which has helped me with outreach and marketing. My training in fashion design has shaped my love for textiles which I incorporate in my work. My time abroad has also been greatly influential in my work but it’s also broadened my point of view as a community member. I strive to uphold a sense of inclusivity, celebration, and culture.

How did you land in Covington, La?

My husband, Rock – a gifted musician – traded in his passion for his CDL and took on a job as a trucker and his company’s headquarters moved us from New Orleans to the North Shore. I absolutely dreaded this change, but we desperately needed the financial stability and the greenspace for our rescue pets. For two years, I barely saw Rock, as he was over-the-road most of the time while I painted out of our garage. We both stayed grinding. Four years later, he’s now my business partner and director of the gallery (and plays in a two-piece band whenever he has free time, ha). We inevitably fell in love with Covington and love being a part of this community. It overwhelms me thinking back on the sacrifices we made to get to where we are. I’m immensely grateful for this amazing partnership and the opportunity to be in creative service to our community and beyond. 

marianne gallery covington

What do you love the most about your Filipino heritage?

The Philippines is known for the incredibly hospitable culture which is mirrored in, and what I really love about, Southern hospitality culture, too. In Filipino culture, there’s always too much food for any occasion, whether big or small, and it’s always insisted that you indulge and enjoy. You’ll always feel taken care of. In the Holiday season, every neighborhood, despite wealth or lack thereof, is abundantly decked out in the most festive of lights and decorations. The Philippine islands boast some of the world’s most beautiful natural sites – a tropical paradise that is breathtakingly blissful. I’m very proud of all of these things and love to extend the experience of my heritage whenever I can.

What’s your favorite piece you have ever worked on?

Always the piece I am currently working on 😉

marianne rodriguez artist

Your favorite way to spend time when not painting?

Curling up to a movie with my rescue pets and my husband – it’s the absolute best.