Jeff Rodriguez

Costume Studio Demo Artist Jeff Rodriquez

Jeff Rodriquez will be in the Costume Studio demonstrating costume prop fabrication July 29-30, 2017. The following interview was conducted in November 2016 for a previous demonstration he did in the Costume Studio.

Sci-fi is definitely my jam. I have always been drawn to what life would be like in some distant galaxy—the history of a planet I haven’t seen yet or what another culture is like.

– Jeff Rodriquez

Holly Nordeck: What will your demonstration at the DAM look like? What will you focus on?

Jeff Rodriquez: I am planning on focusing on a little more advanced prop making with some fabrication in there as well. I would also like to feature 3-D printing props, too.

HN: Have you always been interested in creating props and costumes? When do you think your interest in creating started?

JR: I have been creating music and art all my life, I banged on pots and pans when I was really little like any other kid does, but I never stopped and moved to drums when I was nine. Creating music evolved into creating with plastic and metal by accident. It is all malleable if you work it right and if you are in the right mind set, anything is possible. When I started making simple props, I was fascinated to be able to learn something new every day and the special effects community is like no other. Makers and fabricators help each other in way that I never experienced before. Every day I wake up and get to create something new.

HN: You seem to focus on a central theme in your work; can you expand on this a little more? What draws you to this kind of work?

JR: Sci-fi is definitely my jam. I have always been drawn to what life would be like in some distant galaxy—the history of a planet I haven’t seen yet or what another culture is like. Did they create art and industries like we did or did they take a different route after they figured out fire? How did they get to where they are now?

HN: What other forms of inspiration does your work stem from?

JR: I draw a lot of inspiration from music, video games, and family. Music can certainly shift a mood. Industrial music can set a totally different flow and tone in my work than electronic music. Post-apocalyptic worlds where pistols are made from soda bottles are just fun. Being able to create with my wife every day inspires me to keep on the move and enjoy every single day.

HN: What are important aspects of a costume/prop? And what role do you think they serve?

JR: The most important aspect of costumes and props to me would be believability. You can build the silliest, most outrageous things and as long as the elements and details make sense, it’s believable. If the object tells a story at a glance, it’s believable.

HN: Can you expand a little bit about your process, and what material you use?

JR: I primarily work in metal and plastic. Vaccum forming, casting, machining, and mold making are things I do every day. I make molds with silicone rubber, liquid urethane plastic, and plaster. Those molds can be used to cast foam, liquid plastic, or vaccum form over. Weather it’s a helmet or a dress, you can make almost anything with a vaccum former.

Holly Nordeck is a program facilitator in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. She loves the museum’s modern and contemporary art collection.