The light shimmers and shifts in much of artist Roderick Hidalgo’s latest work, clear resin cubes sifting colors like a prism. The effect of his three-dimensional art depends on where you’re standing.
“To see the work in person is completely different from seeing it in [a] photograph, because of how everything is affected around the space and the light,” the Wilmington artist says.
It’s a bit like looking at a jewelry display, and Hidalgo is unapologetic about his focus on beauty. It’s a direct response to the pandemic and our increasingly dark political times.
“Truly, this was me giving myself a break just to make something beautiful,” he explains.
View this post on Instagram
Hidalgo has faced challenging times personally as well. Amid the pandemic, the owner of the building that housed his Hockessin gallery died suddenly and Hidalgo lost the space. At the same time, COVID-19 cut into his income as fewer people visited galleries and art shows.
A professional artist for almost a decade, Hidalgo’s mixed media includes a lot of relief sculpture— textured works in three dimensions that hang on the wall like a painting.
Despite temporary setbacks, the artist is busy again, now in a much larger studio in Newport doing work on commission and for galleries. With people willing to go out again, he’s planning to launch a new workshop series this winter focusing on materials like epoxy and resin, or encaustic art, which uses beeswax. “It’s a really interesting material that not a lot of people know how to use,” Hidalgo says.
As his national reach continues to grow, he’s working with multiple galleries, including one in Chicago, and his art was also recently featured in a show in the Hamptons. This December, he’ll exhibit at the prestigious Art Basel show in Miami Beach.
“I have goosebumps talking about it, because it’s something that I’ve talked about and dreamt of and worked towards for so long now,” he says. “So it’s very exciting.”
Hidalgo, known as Rick to his friends, was born and raised in Wilmington. Many in his family work in medicine, but he’s always been creative and followed his own path.
His road to an art career was gradual but fairly direct. At A.I. du Pont High School, he gravitated toward art classes, where influential teacher Bob Boyce gave him a strong foundation.
“I realized, well, you could do this for a job if you wanted to; there are a lot of actual good careers that you could go into,” Hidalgo says.
His early jobs helped prepare him for creative work, including a high school gig decorating cakes. Then he started cutting hair at a high-end salon in Greenville—not what you might think of as art, but, he says, “It’s very similar to sculpting and painting, the cuts and the colors.” Hidalgo also worked as an art teacher before opening his own gallery in 2017.
“It’s always been creative work that I’ve been doing,” he says. And he’d like to continue to grow, reaching new audiences nationally and perhaps trying more sculpture.