Alumni Spotlight: Tony Rodriguez ‘14


Bill Murray for The Washington Post. Copyright Tony Rodriguez Illustration

Brooke Williams, Community Editor

Marywood alumnus Tony Rodriguez achieved various successes in the illustration industry since graduating from the “Get Your Master’s with the Masters” arts program in 2014.

After receiving his Master of Fine Arts in illustration and design, Rodriquez freelanced for less than a year before seeking representation from Sullivan Moore, a New York and Boston based illustration agency. After having an illustration published in The New Yorker, jobs from major publications eventually became a regular occurrence.

Rodriguez replicated the likeness of actor, comedian and writer Bill Murray for an article by Geoff Edgers from The Washington Post last October. This month, The Washington Post selected it as one of the “50 great illustrations from 2016.”

“I started noticing the people on that list and so many of the people that I admire and [that] are respected in the industry,” he said. “I still oftentimes just feel like a kid who’s really thankful to be here. When I see those names, I’m just so thankful to be on that list with them.”

Rodriguez creates his artwork digitally and considers portraits like that of Murray his “go-to” theme. Since scrapping his undergraduate portfolio and starting a new one during his time at Marywood, he said his goal has been to achieve a likeness without making the finished product look exactly like their photograph.

One way he does this is by exaggerating facial features.

While studying at Marywood, two professors in particular had an impact on Rodriguez; Craig Welsh and Lisa L. Cyr. He said Welsh’s first class made him laugh and moved him to tears, while Cyr helped him develop the practical skills necessary to become an illustrator and educator, like maintaining a social media presence.

Now, Rodriguez teaches illustration at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta, in addition to illustrating professionally.

Some other publications that have featured his work in recent years include GQ, The Boston Globe and Rolling Stone magazine, which fulfilled a longtime goal of his. His illustration of the band The Arcs accompanied a music review written by Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke.

“It was always a huge dream of mine to illustrate for Rolling Stone. It had been a childhood dream of mine to do that,” he said. “When I was finally able to do it, it just didn’t seem real. That was a huge milestone for me.”

While he considers milestones like working with Rolling Stone significant, one other takes precedence to him.

“Personally, I would say a much larger thing that’s important to me was proposing to my wife under the scoreboard of the baseball field outside of Marywood,” he said.

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