My name is Roberto Rodriguez, born in 1973 originally from Argentina, moved to Uruguay in 1984 and finally to USA in 1999. Here is the story of how I got to become an art maker:
Since my early years, I have had a great interest for nature and the outdoors, animals, specially dogs have been part of my existence on this earth since I was a small child. As I grew, I was drawn to hunting and fishing, I was the only member of my family who was into it. Started hunting small game with slingshot, all made by me, I remember looking for the perfect piece of wood for my weapon and to search for old leather shoes that I can cut the tongue to use to hold the stone. It was somewhat a ritual, I spent hours working on it to have a great final product. As I got older, I got a rifle and then started hunting with my dogs. We hunted Russian boars, Axis deer and Capibaras. The practice of hunting wild boars with dogs and knives was a big part of my past. When I moved to USA in 1999, I left behind my 6 dogs, Lulu being one of my favorites, a small mix female dog. My plans were to come for 2 years and go back. All our plans changed in few months and my parents decided to move as well, leaving all our dogs with family and friends.3 years later, I was able to go back to visit, when I got there, found Lulu was seeing her lasts days, she was blind and old, but she knew I was there.1 day after I was with friends when my aunt called me to tell me Lulu was dying, I rushed to her home to find Lulu barely breathing, lying in the ground. I called a friend and we took her to my old time vet who saw her and said it was nothing she could do, also that most likely Lulu was waiting to see me or someone of her loved ones to die in peace. We then proceeded to help her pass. I was crying like a small child and that day, something changed deep in my soul, my outlook and feelings for animals started changing. Fast forward 8 years, I decided to get a dog, an Argentinian Dogo, at the time my favorite dog. I got Jabali who came from Buenos Aires with 10 weeks. A year later came Rina who we rescued from Ridgeland SC and later Tara came from Iowa .I found myself hunting wild hogs in SC, but something was different, I was not enjoying it as I used, I saw a lot of pain and suffering, saw a fellow hunter beautiful dog being kill by a boar, dogs getting cut, mother pigs dying with the piglets being mauled by dogs, the look on animals eyes when you are stabbing them to death and the squeal that still bothers my soul when I think about it. At the same time I was having those mixed feelings, I was slowly nurturing a growing belief and faith in God, which I have never had. I was questioning my actions, and it was very clear to me, that I was hunting with a prideful heart, with a men heart not a Godly heart. I enjoyed telling stories about the hunts, show pictures, and feel like I was a though men, but in reality, the toughest thing to do was going to be stop doing it. I never forget when one day around mid 2012, I knelt down and promised to God I will never hunt with my dogs again, that I will never cause unnecessary pain and suffering to any creature and I asked for help to fill that void that that decision will create in my life. A few months later, I watched a video of a men from Australia, carving a bowl from a random shapeless piece of wood, I loved it, so I decided to try one myself. I found a small oak burl, and started carving with a chainsaw, then grinders and sanders until I got a desired shape. I remember applying some lemon oil and WOW!! It was like magic, I could hardly believe I made that! In January 2013, I built a work bench with my dad at his house, and started creating rustic, functional wooden pieces, working in the patio under an oak tree. I made bowls, trays, coffee tables, end tables, dining tables, mantles, sculptures, hanging lights, centerpieces, etc.While doing so, I was getting all my materials from the woods, that enabled me to keep taking my loving dogs with me on hunts, but instead of animals we were hunting wood, very little changed for them, we were free again, to roam the wilderness and feel the spirit and connection with mother nature, without all the pain and suffering just like God intended.