+1 ::: When did
you first realize you are an artist Robert?
I was in my early twenties when I discovered
that I was born to be a painter. The idea
of doing anything else is abhorrent to
+2 ::: Could
you tell us some more about your work?
mostly paint clutter. I like how objects
cluster together on tabletops, in kitchen
drawers, on my printer, etc. I try to
take a documentary approach to the subject
by painting things as I find them. Or,
sometimes, I'll just pile up a bunch of
old tins and cigar boxes in a haphazard
way until something interesting happens.
As for the objects themselves, I'm more
interested in their formal qualities (e.g.
color, form, tone) than their everyday,
::: What is it that inspires you to paint
a particular subject?
subject has to capture my interest somehow:
the way the colors and shapes play off
each other, or the patterns of light and
shadow. I try to find poetry in banality.
::: What famous artists have influenced
you, and how?
like the simplicity of form and color
in the works of the Italian Primitives.
I like Morandi
for the same reason. You can see the influences
of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, and
other early Italians in Morandi's still
lifes. There's a tender sensitivity and
calm in their works that makes them a
joy to look at. Two other favorites are
Rodrigo Moynihan and Avigdor Arikha. They
have a directness and matter-of-factness
in their approach to painting that I find
+5 ::: What do
you do for fun (besides painting)?
enjoy drawing people in cafes, drinking
lattes, watching old movies (anything
with Humphrey Bogart), and playing chess.
::: What inspires you to create art and
how do you keep motivated when things
get tough in the studio?
find it more painful not to paint than
it is to paint. Painting keeps me sane
in a cruel, cruel world.
::: How have you handled the business
side of being an artist?
still struggling with that one. For many
years I painted in relative isolation
and gave little thought to the business
of being an artist. I just wanted to paint
and draw, dammit! I lived on the cheap
in Mexico and South America until I finally
got tired of living out of a suitcase.
When I moved to Seattle, almost two years
ago, I decided it would be a good time
to get my work out there where people
could see it, and so, a new painting blog
::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
never look that far ahead. I try to focus
on what I'm doing today and let tomorrow
take care of itself.
::: What is it about still lifes that
keeps you painting them, and what are
you working on at the moment?
lifes are always ready to pose. They don't
talk or get tired or need to eat. They
possess all the qualities of form and
color that are needed to keep a painter
occupied for the rest of his life.
Right now, I'm working on some single-object
paintings that sometimes fall outside
my usual alla prima method of working.
Instead of finishing a piece in one sitting,
I'll blend, push, and scrape the paint
around to create a particular mood in
monochrome and then add more layers of
color and texture later. I've also started
a series of alla prima paintings documenting
the move out of my current home and into
a studio apartment. Moving always represents
a certain amount of upheaval and change,
and I think I just wanted to record the
+10 ::: What
advice would you give to an artist just
First, get in the habit of carrying a
sketchbook with you wherever you go, and
draw from life as much as possible. Drawing
trains the eye to see what is really there
and not just what you think is there.
Second, don't get in a big rush to develop
a style. Play around with different mediums
-- experiment. Rodin started out as a
painter, and then one day he picked up