Resist. by Edel Rodriguez
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($1200)
Thrilled, delighted, honored, excited, over-the-moon, proud… all of these are words I’ve used in preface to debuting new artists and editions on the site, and I’ve always used them most sincerely. Sharing new work with our collectors is one of my greatest joys in life, and that our artists have entrusted us to present their passions and ideas is a true privilege. Today, I’m all of the above and more, as our newest edition—Resist., by artist and designer Edel Rodriguez—is an urgent exhortation to stand up for our joys and freedoms.
Rodriguez’s arresting work has been on my radar for years, as he’s got a knack for creating eye-catching and witty imagery tackling the trickiest (and most timely) of topics. He doesn’t shy away from controversy, and is steadfast about defending his ideas even when faced with vehement criticism. This impressive combination of qualities has served him (and us, his viewers!) incredibly well in these turbulent political times, which have inspired the artist to produce some of the most striking and pointed magazine covers out there.
His TIME covers during the election pared down Donald Trump to his absurd essence: a slash of yellow atop an amorphous orange orb, exploding from their margins and melting downwards. A few weeks later—at a hopeful moment where it seemed he might never recover—Trump appeared on TIME’s cover again in a Rodriguez work, this time reduced to a puddle.
After Trump's unlikely triumph in November, things took a more sober turn and Rodriguez’s work shifted in kind. A Cuban American immigrant himself, Rodriguez embodies the American Dream. Having a window into his process and the personal experiences that inform his work has been enormously affecting for me and has heightened my sense of urgency to resist this new regime's corrosive xenophobia. That the artist feels unwelcome and at risk in our current climate is indicative of the extreme state we’re in.
Building upon the spare and biting visual language he’d defined pre-election, Rodriguez continued to churn out powerful images that were increasingly menacing, culminating in a Der Spiegel cover that you’ve likely seen many times over—one that I literally gasped in horror at when I first saw it.
What I love about today’s edition is that it continues to build upon that visual language, and does so in a way that feels so right… after 74 days of outrageous actions it seems fitting to represent Trump as a viscous deluge of orange raining down upon that feminine icon of freedom and acceptance. And with a progressive population that has quickly mobilized into a formidable force the likes of which I’ve never seen in my lifetime, it does feel as if we can and will shelter her from that storm.
Faced with his compelling works, the press often asks Rodriguez the same question: does he think his art has the power to change people’s minds? “The purpose of political art is not necessarily to change minds, but to mark a moment in time,” Rodriguez said. “So that future generations can see that people were not silent when the world changed around them.” Surely his work will hold office in the annals of history, but that it is so prominent these days is also an affirmation to those of us resisting the ongoing onslaught of injustice—that we’re not crazy to feel as strongly as we do, and that we are most definitely not alone.
With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200