Kay Rodriques was born in Jamaica in 1961. As a child, she drew incessantly and would use any materials she could get her hands on, including the brown paper bags that her parents brought home from the grocery store. She knew quite early on that she wanted to be an artist but was dissuaded by her family and teachers who thought the life of an artist would lead to financial ruin, especially for a girl. "I don't remember a time when I wasn't drawing and being discouraged from doing so," she recalls.
Rodriques returned to her passion in earnest in 2010 and has been experimenting in various mediums and styles, ranging from textural to sheer stain-like drawings and paintings. Along the way she discovered yet another way of telling her stories through the block book format or xylographica: she carefully hand stamps her books in editions of 25 or fewer. Later on she plans to experiment with Risography to duplicate her work in another creative context. Experimenting and trying new techniques is key to her art making process.
Many of the artist's stories are Jamaica based; she also has some California stories that are currently in various stages of completion. She plans to finish two or three of these by the end of 2020. The print run for each book will also be about two dozen.
Rodriques will soon be leaving California to begin a nearly year-long artist residency in a small sea-side town in Jamaica. There she will continue to create new works and also begin a heritage garden with plants she will source locally. Gardening is simply an extension of her creative pursuits. This time, the land will become another of her many canvasses.
Photo credit: Betsy Kingsbury