Milu Rodriguez – The Artist of the Mermaid Jaguar
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Milu Rodriguez – The Artist of the Mermaid Jaguar

- edited by: Glenn Shuck

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From the soul to the canvas. Milu Rodriguez is a passionate artist with a unique art style that stands out for her versatility. Nature lover, detail enthusiast, and storyteller that seeks with every stroke to transform empty spaces into emotional journeys, awakening the imagination and reflecting to the viewer its inherent power.

Full Name: Luisa Rodriguez (Milu Rodriguez)

So excited to meet you and we love the Jaguar restoration and new design in Neptune Beach! So tell us in what part of the First Coast do you reside now and how long have you lived there? 

I live on Beach Blvd and Hodges, the perfect location to quickly slip away to sit in front of the waves and watch the little birds running in front of them. I have lived here for about 3 years.

How long have you been doing your craft or trade? 

Art came in a bundle with me when I was born. Since I was a little girl until today, I can’t think of anything I enjoy more or dedicate more time to than expressing my ideas through different materials or artistic expression. However, the year the pandemic hit I understood that sharing my art would be the way I’d live every day, being a change agent and contributing my grain of sand to make the world a happier place.

What brings out your creativity? 

My art is a celebration of the extraordinary found within the ordinary. I put a lot of energy into getting to know myself and exploring those, and what surrounds me. I am a lover of details and the deep, so to inspire me it is enough to observe with attention the “simple” things of life. The sky, the elements (water, fire, air, earth), nature, animals, human beings in essence. And in practice, a nice-smelling candle and a cup of coffee will always do the trick. 

What does your work aim to say? Are you trying to bring a smile to someone’s face or add to someone’s home decor? 

My art has a lot of contained joy, passion, feelings, and connection. From the gestation of the idea, through the elaboration, to the exhibition of the artwork to the public, my biggest wish is that whoever is seeing it, can feel part of the painting, see themselves reflected in it, feel respect, admiration and love for the creatures that are represented there, to activate their imagination to weave a story between what they see and their own experience, to appreciate the work with all their senses and to leave them with a sensory and emotional memory imprinted in their mind and heart.

Are there any spaces or designers that have influenced you? 

I try to use all the natural spots as an influence for my work, since taking any element from nature, (the light and shadow, the textures, the unique patterns of each plant and animal) will allow me to create a vivid work. On the other hand, I admire very much the work of Marcel Van Luit, a contemporary artist from the Netherlands. His artwork combines reality with fantasy, highlighting the most beautiful aspects of people and animals. I’m inspired by his desire to create dreamy scenarios that all of us can relate to with our inner child. 

What is your favorite artistic accomplishment? 

Being able to generate emotions in others through my work is the greatest achievement for me, so I would say that being chosen to transform the jaguar mermaid of Neptune Beach was an opportunity to see that reaction massively. As a work that was thought and made for the community, seeing the joy that the new design has generated in adults and kids, and knowing that all visitors will be able to leave Jacksonville thinking of it as a city that also stands out for the quality of its art, is so satisfactory.

Do you have a specific piece you would love to talk about or promote? 

I can tell you a little about what was behind the new concept of the sculpture. When I started thinking about what I could do if I won the contest to repaint it, I wanted to create a mythological creature, that had the ability to move between water and land with grace, as a mermaid would do, that is why the mix of the colors of her fur, brown and white with touches of lilac and mint, and also, all the water spots that would allow us to see the ocean water inside her. I wanted her to come out of the sea soaking wet and bring with her the most beautiful aquatic animals to remind us that they are here, on the same planet as us, to show us how we can live together in harmony, admiring the beauty and respecting each other’s existence, regardless of the differences between us. At the end, it was for me the perfect representation of the greatest qualities of the people of this city that I call home today, kindness, generosity and appreciation for others.

What is the best way for artists to network? 

Being authentic, genuinely believing in our message and falling in love with our work so much that it is inevitable to share it with every person we meet along the way. Social media is a great opportunity to exhibit our work massively, but in my opinion, it cannot completely replace the connection that we can generate by looking into the eyes a potential client, who may be at a social event, a gallery, a restaurant, or a park, waiting for you to come and tell him with passion about what you do and see that you are the person who can make reality that idea that has been living in his mind for a long time.

If you had a question you would like to ask another artist what would it be? 

If there’s actually a way to keep your house, your clothes, your car, your life free of paint stains lol. I’ve already ruined all my furniture. Also, I would also ask them about their artistic journey. The stories of those who decide to dedicate their life to art always comes with a lot of courage. 

What’s the best thing for you about living on the First Coast? 

Being surrounded by so much nature and having a pace of life that allows me to enjoy the present. 

How can we see your work? 

You can find some of my artwork in social media (Instagram, Facebook and TikTok) as milurodriguezart, where you can reach me directly and be updated about my next exhibitions and art events. 

What type of services/products do you offer?

I can paint whatever you have in mind on any surface. I love challenges! I do wall murals, sculptures, and canvases of any size, and I also offer face painting service for adults and kids for private parties and local events.    

Is there anything else that you want to tell everyone? 

Thank you very much for creating these spaces where we can connect with our community in a more intimate way and share our art. To all of you who read us today, I want to tell you that I put my heart into every project you trust me with and that my creativity is at everyone’s disposal so together we can fill every corner of Jacksonville with art, love and life.

Suggest a Story: FCL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so when you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

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