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Aileen Rodriguez Imperatrice
Born and raised in Fresno, California, Aileen has shown artistic interest since childhood. Throughout her life, she has experimented with many different art forms, studying formally within school walls or in independent practice and study. Aileen went on to attain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Commercial Arts/ Advertising Design with a minor in Psychology from CSU, Fresno. These chosen fields of study give Aileen the unique outlook she expresses in her work. “I have always been attracted to bold images. Boldness in color, shape, line and feel.” It is this same attraction that also influences her choice of media.
Aileen has worked professionally as a graphic artist, advertising coordinator, and in IS administration, all the while maintaining involvement in the artistic community by taking part in various art exhibitions and auctions. As the request for her work became greater, Aileen made a life altering decision to resign her position with The Fresno Bee and become a professional artist full-time.
Aileen continues her art education in many forms today, studying and experimenting on her own as well as learning from formal workshops and from other artist resources. “With each piece I do, I continue to learn and with each exhibit I view, I continue to be inspired.” She also credits her life experience, including familial and cultural influences, as playing a large part in how she expresses herself through her work.
Aileen continues her artistic career while having worked in recent years as the Program Coordinator for the Fresno Arts Council, Art Committee Chair for the San Joaquin River Parkway Trust – Parties for the Parkway, Artist Coordinator for the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fresno Rogue Festival while also serving on the Rogue Board of Directors, as well as the founding Board for the Fresno Coalition of Arts, Sciences and History now the Valley Cultural Coaltion. Her memberships have been with Arte Americas, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Creative Fresno and the Fresno Art Museum. While continuing today as an arts consultant to many prominent arts organizations, Aileen has judged various art competitions for City and State recognized organizations. She continues to receive awards and recognition for her work locally, nationally and internationally.
As an artist I try to express the emotions and experiences I encounter in my daily life. I feel a great need to put into visual form, images which enter my thoughts or that strike my attention. Often I find my greatest inspirations come from within my dreams. I wake to a strong image and quickly sketch it down before it escapes. Then I’ll come back to it later and put it into the creative form I choose.
Probably the most interesting aspect of the whole process, is that I feel compelled to form these images visually to gain release from them, otherwise they continue to reappear in my thoughts. I am not always sure what they really represent, but they make an interesting study.
As a 3rd Generation Mexican-American, my cultural experiences have been a mixture of my identity as an American born and raised citizen and the traditions of my Mexican culture. Largely in thanks to my parents for exposure to some basic traditions and to my extended family for their many talents, their sharing has allowed me a lifetime of rich experiences. With this in mind, I have come to realize that my culturally combined lifetime experience is unique and valuable. My impressions of what I have seen and felt up to this point greatly influence the way I express myself and how I choose to involve myself in the community.
While I do not always create art that is ethnic in theme, it does sometimes seem to come naturally. I have been told one can feel my cultural expression through the bright and vivid colors I choose for my work. In addition, I feel a strong desire for simplicity in line, not only reflects my graphic arts education, but my impressions of various traditional events. My work is both representational and abstract and I use color as a tool for expressing emotions. It’s the experience of feelings day to day and the visual memories we are left with. I want the viewer to enjoy the primary simplicity of rich color and bold line, while also leaving with the sense of shared experiences.