Q: How do you say "Dr Gorilla"?
A: Doctor Gorilla is the intended way to say Dr Gorilla, though I am not a doctor. Some say "D-R Gorilla" and that is fine as well, but Doctor Gorilla is what should be said.
Q: Why use the name "Dr Gorilla"?
A: There are two reasons for using the name "Dr Gorilla". First, the name came from a collaboration I had with another artist whose handle was Gorilla. I always signed my work "Dr" for David Rodriguez. As a collaborative project, we decided to create a character by the name of Dr Gorilla. My friend eventually left the project and gave me the right to continue utilizing the name. For me, Dr Gorilla is a reminder of the collaborative work I created and continue to create with many speakers, entertainers, thought leaders, and artists.
The second reason, to be honest, it is easier to look me up as Dr Gorilla on the internet rather than trying to find me as "David Rodriguez" (which happens to be the "John Smith" of the spanish world). There are quite a few "David Rodriguez'" around town.
Q: Why do you make art?
A: I have always created art since I can remember. I first noticed my talents in Kindergarten or 1st grade when my teacher asked everyone else what they were drawing but she understood what I was creating without question.
Growing up I wanted to get into the comic book industry and was set to do so, but around the age of 18 I had a spiritual awakening and really wanted to have God be a part of my life. I didn't know what this meant artistically so I put down my pencil and brushes and took several months to study the Bible. After a time, I felt as though God was asking me to translate my learnings into paintings. I wasn't sure what I was to create so I started illustrating my experiences and understandings. Shortly after, people saw my works and shared with me that they were able to understand my paintings and were experiencing the same thoughts and emotions that I was conveying on canvas.
I then took my easel to church and I was given the opportunity to create paintings during sermons. From there, more opportunities began to open and more skills were acquired to help manage the blessings. I now do many local art works and travel the states creating live paintings with pastors, musicians, speakers, poets, dancers or just by myself. Not all of my events are spiritually based but I would say that my talent is.
Q: When delivering a "speed painting", do you have a plan or is it spontaneous?
A: For speed painting, because seconds count, I try to always know at least a basic concept of what I'm producing, if not the exact image. Very rarely do I create on pure emotion and in the moment inspiration, though there are occasions that I do.
Most of my paintings are designed around audio cues (when possible) to help me stay on track. So, I know exactly how long I have and where I should be in production depending on what point a speaker is on, or which song a singer is on, etc.
Q: Why do you not paint all the way to the edges of the board on most of your work?
A: All of my works are created on BC plywood with acrylic paint and oil pencils. Sometimes I add additional mediums into a piece. The wood surface is the element within my paintings that brings an organic, natural feel to the subjects that I produce. I don't paint to edges of the board because I want the viewer to understand very clearly that this work is produced on wood and that the wood itself is to act as a natural frame around the art itself. Most look at my art and believe that I didn't finish the piece because they can see the wood. On the contrary, the piece is complete because the wood is exposed.
Q: Where are you based out of? Do you travel for engagements?
A: I am based out of Dallas and travel quite frequently for many of my engagements.