photographer & video artist

Rodrigo Valenzuela

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. Photographer and video artist Rodrigo Valenzuela is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through his artistic lens.

Q&A with Rodrigo Valenzuela

How did you come to live in Seattle?

I went to college at Evergreen in Olympia, and every weekend I’d take the train to Seattle to see galleries and contemporary art.

What are some of your favorite places in Seattle?

I like that there are pockets of everything, and I really enjoy my bicycle commute. If you go from my house to the University of Washington and take 19th Avenue, you’re suddenly in Interlaken Park. You’re just coasting down the hill in the middle of nowhere, and slowly, after 10 minutes, you feel like you’re out of the city.

I like the Central District a lot because of the variety of people. It’s great walking on Cherry Street. There are convenience stores that have great Ethiopian restaurants inside, and they’ll have two tables with an old lady who just keeps refilling your plate because it’s not actually an established restaurant. There’s a lot of that in the International District, too.

How is Seattle reflected in your work?

I seek communities. I seek the idea of what it really means to belong to somewhere. A lot of my work has to do with community, how communities are built. You make your own home everywhere. I have had to make my own home in Seattle, and for me, I go to all these pockets of the city. I ride my bicycle to play soccer in the South End, and I go to the U District because my friends from the University are there.

Where do you go see art?

I like to go to the Henry, and I like Vignettes to go see work and interact with people. I like that people do popup events in a warehouse or in a shop in Belltown. The artists in Seattle have the drive to put together their own event — they want to create a social dynamic around their work rather than wait for  curator to put them in a show. I’m pretty social, and I know a lot of artists: if you hang out in a bar or coffee shop for more than a few hours, someone will invite you to somewhere.



Interview by Jess Van Nostrand, 2012.

Photo taken in the International District.


Rodrigo Valenzuela discusses and showcases some of his video and art projects.



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