I believe in the power of words. I believe in the power of images. I believe that the two, when combined, can create an experience that is more powerful than they each have on their own. But it is a delicate balance, as one can easily overpower the other. For many years I worked to create images, strong in their own right, using color and design and contrast in such a way as to keep the viewer drawn to the work. I wanted my artwork to shout at the viewer, “hey, look at me!” Titles for the works I was creating were incidental – I didn’t want viewers to worry about the title, I wanted them to look at the work.
That all changed when I tried creative writing – short stories to be specific.
Trying to write a narrative changed my way of thinking. It made me realize that the story, the narrative, is just as important as the image. My titles were no longer a frustrating add-on to the images I was creating; they were an essential component of the work. I began to see my images as “opening lines” for the viewer to take in and find their own story. I wanted the viewer to read the title, look at the image, and wonder where the story was going from there, or where it had been before.
I seek the story in every image now. I seek the image in every story. I want to know what happened, what is happening, and what will happen. I strive to create works that instill this sense of discovery and narrative. I want the viewer to come away from my work feeling that they know something of what has happened, and that they want to know where it’s going to go.
Bio: Robert has been a practicing artist for over a decade with his work having appeared in juried shows and is in private collections nationally. Most recently his work could be found in the 2006 MOAK and the 20th Annual Small Works on Paper. He will be receiving his Bachelor of Arts, Drawing Emphasis, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the fall of 2008. Robert resides in Little Rock.