Hello Artists and Art Lovers... after little break we are back, with this very rich interview with multi-talented artist Rob Snow. Firstly it might be just "5 questions" interview, but Rob handle much more with style. So we are bringing the full long, uncensored, unedited, uncutted and mostly striking interview and small preview of his mind-blowing and hyper-realistic works! :) Enjoy!
Hi Rob, Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
What can be said about Rob Snow, that doesn’t have someone instantly think of Game of Thrones! Well, born and raised in the UK. Was drawing from the age of six, and later, after seeing Star Wars at the age of thirteen decided it’s a career option, better than working in an office. Went to college, got my degree and masters and am now, after a short excursion set up in Greece, trying to make a living at something I really love. I have evolved my skills over the years. With a degree in media production, and an emphasis in animation, I worked for a while in the industry, but slowly realised that I like drawing more than repetitive drawing, so turned to illustration and graphic design. Now, I use my artistic skills in two ways. The traditional use of pencil combined with that of digital skills, that help speed up the process and gives output usable in mass production, but with quality.
What art technique do you most enjoying doing?
It’s really hard to answer that, as art just envelopes me, regardless. I remember once I spent 4 hours sitting on a beach stacking stones end on to create towers. People asked what I was doing, I didn’t have an answer. I was just enjoying the creating. So, since I was born outside the computer revolution age, I have maintained a desire toward traditional media. I love working in pencil; the smell, the texture of the paper, etc. All has some form of interest in keeping the skill alive.
Do you have a favorite piece out of your own portfolio?
A favourite piece. I have many of them hanging on my wall. When I walk past one always catches my eye. It’s not very popular sales wise, but I love the humour in it, related to the art world. It is based on Salvador Dali’s telephone lobster sculpture. I decided to do a reverse aspect and have the lobster manipulating the phone. As like to have them calling Dali and asking what his thoughts were doing his piece. I love the texture on the lobster and the overall feeling I captured.
When did you decide you wanted to be an artist? Was it a difficult choice?
I didn’t really decide to be an artist, it happened. But then again, if you have this choice: lawyer, fireman, train driver, tax man, builder, ARTIST! Which would be the best choice. It wasn’t difficult as I had something inside me that drive me even today, and so it’s like a drug. You get addicted and it’s hard to stop.
What inspires you?
I incorporate Lateral Thinking practices in my work, so I have taught myself that there are ideas everywhere. So, when you ask what inspires me, it’s a case and easier answer to say, what doesn’t inspire me. Everything is a seed to a possible idea. What the brain needs to do is find the keys to build it into something. Many of my ideas have come from sitting on a bus, walking the dog, or being distracted by incidental things.
What do you dislike about the world of art?
This section would be too long to answer in the way I would like. I have spent 20+ years getting slowly better at what I do. Practicing, exploring, punishing myself to consider I am a qualified creative able to deliver quality art. What is annoying is, young people thinking that art has NO process. Get an image, slap some photoshop filter on it, and there you go…ART. That is not art, that is lazy commercial expectations. The way the world is turning at the moment with financial crisis and employment issues, every tom, dick and harry believe that art is an easy option to earn some cash. Regardless of if they are qualified or not. This is a detrimental aspect to the educational program in many schools, if not in all countries. Art has become a tertiary concern that most see as a hobby. When given the opportunity to see that hobby as a money earner, they saturate a professional arena with trite and rubbish. Drowning out the people that actually use this as a way to make a living. Hardly anything is curated in the global open internet arena, and anyone who wants to protect their works finds that there is a total ignorance in understanding the copyright laws. “Oh, there wasn’t a big ‘fucking’ © symbol flashing in red letters over the image, so I thought it was free! But even if there was, I will use Photoshop to erase it, and so I can use it free anyway!” Is the mentality of worthless, talentless people who are unhappy in their day jobs and want to tap into the utopia some of use skilled people have found ourselves living in. Not saying it’s all roses. Life as a real artist is art, pressurising, mentally challenging and also very rewarding. Bt who isn’t going to take the easy route? Steal, copy, and sell…the five minute alternative to skill and lifetime of learning.
Name one aspect of your own work that you feel makes you unique?
What makes me unique? I don’t make money! No seriously, I think it’ the clever twist in the lateral thinking I try to employ. Sadly, I think it’s too clever for most of the populous to see, and that is what makes my images less appealing. Like the Salvador one I mentioned earlier. Many don’t know the Dali piece I refer to, don’t get the title connection to Dali, and ask “Why is a lobster calling Salvador (the country)?” The only thing I can say is it doesn’t stop me looking for these twists.
Name something you love, and why?
Animals! Because they are not humans.
What is your dream project?
My dream project. I have many unfinished projects in my head. Only unfinished as I don’t have the time to complete them. My dream project would be to have the scope to do and earn enough to maybe take a year or two off, to just do my work.
Name three artists you look up to the most?
Without a doubt the top of the list is Vincent Van Gogh. His life seems to have a similar path to mine. Torment and struggle and no income from something there is so much passion for. He is the antipathy of art in my mind. Others who make me feel cool about seeing their art and knowing about them. Hum, that’s really hard. I love Goya. I took my daughter (aged 7 at the time) to see a retrospective of his etchings at an art museum. Over 150 of his works. I was there for 20 minutes on each piece telling my daughter the story and history of them. Loving the lines, loving the fact I can see them live for the first time. I have a dream to go the “House of the Deaf Man” in Spain to see the mural of the dog he painted as a recluse. Another? Hum, I guess I would have to say Bartok the composer. I hear his music and it throws out feelings of the same kind of life that Vincent would portray if he played music. It is a parallel to the crazy and insane world that art is all about. “If you are an artist JUST to make money, then you are not an artist; you are a salesperson.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Give up! This is what my art teacher told me, when I asked to join the art classes. It was the short, sharp bluntness in this negatively that made me find the fight to prove her wrong. I hope I am doing a good job?
What are your professional goals?
Do you have a clear vision of where you want to be in five or ten years?
As long as I am not planted in the ground, I would be happy just to be doing what I want to be doing. Last year I did over 100 pieces of art. If my productivity could be that good each year, and I learnt from all of them, that would be a great way to focus wholly on my work and not do commission work.
What is the key to staying motivated?
This is a question I think when I try to teach my students. To me it’s easy, there is no brick wall to motivation. each and every day I get up I look forward to being creative. When I am ill, I almost have to be tied to the bed to rest. Motivation is never an issue, and I am really glad I taught myself the lateral thinking process. So, the key to staying motivated, is decide to be an artist or not!
What is one common misconception people have about art and artists?
Hahahaha! It’s a fucking cliche, but they think we are lazy, that the natural skill is a free service, that we charge for 5 minutes work, like a weeks pay. That people really don’t know what goes into the real creative process. It is a job like anyone else.
What is the toughest thing about being an artist?
Living with other human beings.
Who is your No. 1 fan?
Nobody has really come forward to say they love my work in any great respectful way. Liking stuff on social media doesn’t make you a fan. Having a wall of your art, talking to the artist, etc. Makes you a fan. I have no stalking entities like this, so the social adoration is nice, but needs to be reciprocated in real appreciation. I couldn’t say, who is a real fan.
Do you believe creativity can be learned?
Everyone has a natural ability to do something: It’s called aptitude. Some have an aptitude for creative things. Like some can be doctors, some can be plumbers, some can be sales people. This can not be taught and is what filters the chaff from the wheat. What can be taught is the parallel necessity, which is technique. The issue nowadays is that due to the ease of using computers with (potentially) creative applications on them, people thing that art and creativity is just technique. It’s not, it’s an inherent aptitude that allows to to understand colour, composition, perspective, form, light, and so much more, that is obviously a flaw in many commercial artists these days. But because they have a following they are setting a new, dangerous trend in ‘non-artist’ art. Like I am capable of building a house because there is a pile of bricks in front of me? Well I could try, and it would look like a house, but maybe it would be dangerous, not look good and I couldn’t convince people to live in it. Apply that to art! That is what the internet does. Makes people think they can build houses, and convince them due to the aspects of social interaction online. I am looking for the day that all these bad houses come crumbling down.
What is one thing you learned as an artist that you wish
you had known when you were starting out?
That it is the most involved, hard and life controlling thing you will ever do!
How do you battle insecurity?
I went to foundation course before doing my degree. This knocked out my insecurities from the start. I was very shy and insecure before. Protective of what I drew, etc, but foundation was like boot camp for artists. You’d have your work torn up, you’d be told you are useless, etc, and it was basically there to make you decide if you can take all the shit that will come. Because you do get the shit. One thing I see on some POD sites. People deleting critical comments, because they don’t throw flattery at something that was not even their own creation. Its like that expression; “If you can’t stand the fire get out of the kitchen.” So, I’ve learnt to hear everything that is said, and turn it to fuel. Fuel to be good at what I do. Ask my daughter, she thinks I’m crazy and doesn’t like being in public with me, because I may do something unexpected.
What's your message to the World?
Love animals and the planet! We need them (all of them)!
Thanks a lot Rob!
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