Born Chicago, Ill 1978
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
University of Texas, Austin B.S. 2001
Texas A&M University, Ph.D. 2005
Yale University, Postdoctoral Appointment 2005-2008
Rodrigo Valles is a, NYC-based, self-taught artist. He taught himself to oil paint around the age of 26. His earliest artistic passion was a fascination with graffiti as a teen. Painting is not his only profession, though it is his passion.
Rodrigo has a Ph.D. in behavioral pharmacology and currently works as the Associate Director for a large health and research center at Hunter College. He is of Mexican heritage and spent his early years in Dallas, Texas. Art only took root during his high school years when he committed himself to learning about the graffiti on the streets of Dallas. His focus then shifted to his undergraduate and graduate education until he moved with his wife to the West Indies in 2005.
With free time for the first time in over 8 years, he taught himself to oil paint. This provided the vehicle to marry urban art and fine art in a way that was uniquely personal but well within the framework of growing contemporary art genres. Rodrigo had his first solo show in August of 2011 at CultureFix on the Lower East Side of New York City. Since then he has showed his work regularly in galleries and art fairs across the country. To date, his work has been exhibited in notable art fairs during Art Basel Miami, numerous galleries in New York City’s Chelsea art district and along side renowned contemporary artists such as Dan Witz, Tim Okamura, Swoon, Jerome Lagarrigue, Erik Jones, and Kevin Peterson.
In 2014 Rodrigo developed and taught an undergraduate class for Hunter College that explored the neurological, psychological and sociological underpinnings of creativity. The syllabus developed for the class was very novel at the time and drew heavily from the emerging field of neuroaesthetics.
Rodrigo quickly expanded his network of collectors, artists, academics, gallerists and curators. He then decided to leverage these contacts and begin curating contemporary art shows both alone and with noted curator Melissa McCaig-Welles. Their projects have been well received and have included both established and undiscovered talent.
Rodrigo’s works highlight the beauty and truth in decay and weathering. Even in his youth he viewed spray paint art as fine art because it was innovative and expressive. As such, his love for graffiti makes frequent appearances in his paintings. Delving further into the psychology behind his art, Rodrigo believes that encounters with sadness, confusion and destruction force an assessment of what is truly precious, thereby becoming moments of insight. The physical manifestation of this is seen in his juxtapositions of urban decay and life.