Rolfe Duane Bautista: Bringing the Whimsical into Being

By Allison LeCain

Inspiration can be tricky. Some artists are inspired by reading a beautiful poem; others by taking a walk in the park. Inspiration strikes Rolfe Duane Bautista at odd times, such as when he’s brushing his teeth or falling asleep.

“Funny enough, a lot of good ideas happen when I’m doing really mundane things,” Bautista said. “I get artist’s block when I’m sitting in my chair [at my studio].”

Though this process may be unique, it works for him. Not only has Bautista created many pieces displayed in Rendition Gallery (251 Jefferson St.), he has painted two electrical boxes for the city. He also creates ‘daily drawings’ and posts them on his blog.

“The daily drawings come from the one weird thing that sticks to me every day, or an important thing that my mind just can’t get over,” Bautista said.
Bautista practices concept art, which means his artwork is idea-based, rather than focused on the final product. While he mainly draws, paints and creates graphic designs, he is currently experimenting with a plaster project.

“I don’t like to limit myself with materials – whatever it takes to get the job done, that’s how I go about things,” Bautista said.

While many people define art as how it is received by an audience, Bautista said his art is also self-serving, but he creates a quality product that viewers appreciate.

“I make my drawings a bit cryptic and ambiguous so that the meanings stay very personal and the audience is allowed to explore to make their own conclusions,” Bautista said.

After graduating from high school in 2004, Bautista started displaying art in coffee shops and entering into local art exhibits. Now he is well known by appearing in First Friday Art Walks, showing his colorful, whimsical, surreal and sometimes tongue-in-cheek art at Rendition Gallery.

Recently, Bautista became one of the new owners of Rendition Gallery, along with Daniel Ibanez and Ivan Andrade.

Reopening on March 2, the new owners hope to raise the quality of the artwork displayed in Rendition Gallery.

“We really want this to be a point between the East Coast and the West Coast that people would consider an important place for artwork,” Bautista said.

To see Bautista’s artwork, including his daily drawings, visit or visit his permanent display in the lower level of Rendition Gallery.

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