Maker Minute: Meet San Jose artist Carlos Rodriguez

This Mexican-American artist has been making moves locally and nationally.


“Art should be healing and uplifting.”

Photo provided by Helene Rodriguez

Any local could tell you that San Jose is one of the most vibrant, diverse, and creative cities in the US. Our new Maker Minute series will introduce many of the artists + small business owners that make our city so special.

Today, we’re highlighting local artist Carlos Rodriguez. At the age of eight, Carlos immigrated to San Jose from Mexico and expressed himself through street art + murals in his neighborhood. This would later inspire him to create youth art programs at MACLA and the Alum Rock Counseling Center.

Most recently, Carlos’ work was featured in San Jose’s 1Culture gallery — and he repped the great 408 at the first-ever Bed Stuy Walls Mural Festival.

Two men look at a large painting/altar of the Virgin Mary.

At a recent 1Culture show, Carlos’ painting + altar explored an indigenous interpretation of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Photo by SJtoday staff

Q: Tell us about your art.
A: My art is a reflection of my soul, my being. It is influenced by my culture and inspired by the great Mexican Muralist murals I saw growing up. It expands past murals to jewelry and clothing design.

Q: What do you love about San Jose?
A: It’s where my Dad brought us. It’s my home and close to the ocean and my loved ones.

Q: Describe San Jose’s art scene in three words.
A: Competitive, developing, grassroots.

Q: What’s a life lesson that you’ve learned through your art that you’d like to share?
A: Art should be healing and uplifting. It should be an expression of self. It should capture your essence and most importantly, spark a conversation.

An indigenous Mother Earth figure holding a growing plant.

“Ancestors Mother” — Carlos’ recent Bed Stuy mural pays homage to Mother Earth + his Mexican heritage.

Photo provided by Helene Rodriguez

Q: What past or upcoming projects are you most proud about?
A: Anytime I can do a mural for a community that can heal from it, are projects I take pride in. Upcoming, I’m heading to Art Basel, and I’m excited about it! The last project I had in NY was also very motivating and it showed me that I can push myself and broaden my horizons independently.

Know another local artist or small business owner we should feature? Nominate them here.

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