Monday, October 7, 2013

Spotlight on Santiago Artist Rodrigo Bello

In September the PRØVE Gallery in Duluth featured a handful of artists who did not grow up here in Duluth. The show, titled Transplants, featured artists from a range of geographic locales, and proved to deliver some fascinating material to the art-going public.

Over the course of many years I’ve often asked people how they, or their parents, came to be living in Duluth and an unusually large number seem to be here (myself included) because they married someone who is from Duluth. Once here, it’s easily recognized as a stunningly beautiful corner of the world and one is grateful to have arrived on these shores.

Rodrigo Bello is one such transplant and it was a pleasure to make his acquaintance at the opening that took place in mid-September.

EN: Where are you from originally and how did you come to live in Duluth? 
RB: I am originally from Santiago, Chile. My wife is from Duluth. We lived in Santiago for almost nine years and then we decided to move to her hometown, Duluth.

EN: What kind of training did you have in the arts? 
RB: I studied art in Santiago since my early years. When I was young, I attended an Art High School that provided me with the basic knowledge of drawing and painting. During college I took several workshops and seminars at the Catholic University, Salvador Allende Foundation and other institutions.

EN: How long have you been painting?
RB: I have been painting and drawing since I was a kid. If I was not playing, I was drawing. My parents were wise enough to encourage me to do it.

EN: What is your favorite medium and why?
RB: It depends on the subject. Each medium has advantages and disadvantages. Today I am working mostly with acrylic and charcoal. The charcoal allows me to work on the images while the acrylic provides the atmosphere and depth. Since I am new in town I am exploring and learning as much as I can about Duluth. This is the subject that I am working on.

EN: Why is making art important for you?
RB: Art plays a significant role in any society. It creates a sense of self-awareness. This is essential if we want to pursue a better, peaceful and joyful society.

EN: What do you do for a living? Is art an avocation on the side or are you a career artist? 
RB: In Duluth I am working at a restaurant. This gives me time and flexibility to work on my art. In Chile I worked as an engineer, but unfortunately this career gave me little spare time to work on my art.

EN: What are the similarities and differences between the art scenes here in Duluth and Chile? 
RB: One of the similarities that I have noticed is the emergence of a young generation of artists who are bringing new ideas to the local art community. I have also noticed a great interest in experimental art such as installations, films and others. I would say that one of the main differences is the subject itself. Today Chile is facing interesting social transitions such as the student movement that is demanding quality public education, immigration reforms for the undocumented immigrants who work in Chile, as well as robust economic growth. These subjects are reflected in the work of many artists.

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See more works by Rodrigo Bello at

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