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Meet Ash Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ash Rodriguez.

Hi Ash, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
The story of my art the last ten years since high school ended has taught me a lot creatively. No road is traveled alone I truly believe that, and the mentors and friends I’ve made along this journey really have shaped the artist I am today. I grew up heavily inspired by movies and television, so it felt natural for me to participate in this industry. I started out in elementary school being very interested in paper mâché and sculpting, my father was a sculptor and I was able to learn a lot of his techniques and be encouraged to constantly practice. I made my first mask in school of Snoopy and many other characters and always felt drawn to change my appearance and make art, especially on Halloween. Since then, that all snowballed into a focus on working within the haunt world. I was lucky enough to meet people who believed in me and gave me a chance to learn and grow as a makeup artist when I took a theatre makeup class in 2012.

Since then, I’ve worked closely with haunt events Knotts scary farm and Universal studios Halloween horror nights. Those experiences have been my college and home since the year 2013. Throughout those years, I assisted artists. I’ve been a PA on shows and sets, and still today try to see the lessons and wisdom I can harness to make my career well-rounded. Today I find myself passing my perspective down like others have before me and seeking wisdom from those who I admire as older makeup artists. I feel very grateful to take a moment and look back since I graduated in 2011 and say that I have seen and I am in the rooms I want to be. I am honored to be a part of the younger artist I know journeys and pay it forward. I hope to become a union makeup artist in the near future and have the opportunity to create as much as possible. Every day is a new opportunity to start over and apply the lessons of yesterday, and as long as I live, I believe I will be creating art in many ways and hope to inspire others to do so as well.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think any road is smooth, I associate my journey as a human and career like the 101 freeway. I’ve had a lot of detours and construction in my path along the way but as long as I keep driving and stay focused, I will make it to my goals and destination. Throughout the years, I have become very open about my battle with depression, I used to think I was just dramatic and it was imaginary but since the pandemic, I’ve invested in therapy and can’t advocate for it enough! I truly believe if you want change and are unhappy you need to get real with yourself and learn who you are and ask for help. Through therapy, I have found a lot of clarity about how my trauma can manifest into hurt and learned that I get to change that. But it is hard work, and it’s a daily practice. But like any muscle, you build that muscle memory and you tear it and it grows stronger! Whatever industry you work in is going to have bullies, and I let myself in the past believe and agree with their opinions due to my depression. But I believe that everything starts within and by focusing on the self-work, I have been able to overcome road blockages and am starting to accept that they probably will never end. There will always be something happening on the freeway! But at least now I have a map and I can take the side streets and I’ll get where to I wanna go with patience and focus.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in prosthetics and Special FX makeup applications. My passion began with my love of horror movies, 80’s splatter films especially. That and my favorite holiday Halloween has made me known for being the go to for monsters and creatures. What I am most proud of is being a part of Halloween horror nights, it has given me the opportunity to recreate some of my favorite makeups from the films that inspired me in the first place. But what I would say sets my work apart would be my background in painting and art. I grew up originally wanting to be an animator, so I feel that training in art translates to my makeup application and airbrush work. The work I’ve done in the Halloween haunt events really helped me learn to work fast and problem solve quickly. Today I mostly work on films sets using those skills, and I am very grateful to have learned and worked with so many talented and imaginative people.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I like to use a lot of analogies, so I’ll leave you with this. My main inspiration for makeup and storytelling has always been the Wizard of OZ, like many. So I encourage you to look at your path and imagine it like the yellow brick road to the emerald city. The pursuit and knowing what you are looking for whether it’s your heart, home, courage or brain. That in itself is you taking the first step in acknowledging that you already have it within you. All you need to do is practice it strengthen it and let yourself have it. Spoiler alert all the wizard did was validate the characters. It’s Glinda, the good witch that’s shares with Dorthy you have had the power all along! But you have to learn that for yourself. So go out there create your art like I do, take a chance go on some quests and learn from your side adventures. You have power, stay focused and share your light and celebrate others. Be the change you want to see, and if we get to work together, know that I will be hyping us both up, I am available for hire!

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