Die Arbeiten von Robert Mars, Hybride zwischen Collage und Gemälde, entführen in eine längst vergangene Zeit, die so eigentlich nie wirklich existierte.
Im kollektiven Bewusstsein der popkulturgeprägten Generationen ist die Mitte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts zur Epoche der Hipster und Beatpoeten, des Cool Jazz und Rock’n’Roll, der grossen amerikanischen Nacht und der Route 66 verklärt worden „” den Archetypen, aus denen Mars seine Inspiration bezieht, die seinen Werken einen sofortigen Wiedererkennungswert verleihen, auch wenn man sie zum ersten Mal betrachtet.
Im Interview erzählt er von seinem Werdegang, dem Einfluss des Skateboardens auf sein Leben und seine Kunst sowie von seinen Plänen für die Zukunft.
Diskursdisko: Hi Robert. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you startÂ painting?
Robert Mars: For as Â long as I can remember I have always been creative. After highÂ school IÂ attended Parsons School of Design in New York City. I studied graphicÂ design and illustrationÂ but I always had a greater passion for painting. While working in theÂ skateboarding industryÂ in 1996-2001 I was working on a body of paintings with no set style. InÂ 2001 I put skateboarding to the side for 2 years to focus on art andÂ define my style. I started showing that body of work in 2002 and have beenÂ exploring it since then.
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or methodÂ that you adhere to?
Robert Mars: Over the years I have developed a method of making art. It is aÂ combination ofÂ brown paper bags, gel medium, vintage ephemera such as Life magazines,Â newspapers,Â Playboy magazines, road maps, and anything relevant to that era. I have aÂ wall that I collage images for use in my work so as I paint I have them inÂ front of me to work with. I choose color and final image before I start aÂ piece but let it flow and change as I build layers of paint and collage.Â My style is set and now it plays off of Â the nuances of detail.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Robert Mars: The world around me is inspiring. Living in New York I find accidental artÂ in subway adsÂ that have been removed and you can see the layering and history of whatÂ was there prior.Â Over time this creates nice textures and random pattern. Road tripsÂ inspire me. Small desertÂ towns with that Route 66 feel inspires me. Great art inspires me. My wifeÂ inspires me.
Diskursdisko: Your artwork is all about mid-century Americana, using collagedÂ images from the 50s and 60s, while still feeling modern – how did you Â develop this style?
Robert Mars: I developed this style over many years. I come from a graphic design andÂ illustration backgroundÂ so I feel that keeps my work looking contemporary. I started my interestÂ in the 70″™s. This era was important for myself as it holds great memoriesÂ of my childhood. As I started to really investigate my interest in theseÂ years I grew a curiosity for the time before I was alive, particularly theÂ 60″™s. I find the 60″™s holds most of my interest with advertising,Â automobiles, architecture and the general look of America at that time. ItÂ was about doing a lot of research and digging deep into American historyÂ through books, internet and magazines.
Diskursdisko: You’ve also designed skateboards. Can you tell us a bit about theÂ process of finding the right imagery to fit the limited space of aÂ deck whilst still satisfying your own artistic vision?
Robert Mars: Skateboard design was something that I was always interested in. I pickedÂ up a skateboard in 1985 and at that time felt that it was a creativeÂ outlet both phsyically as well as creatively. It has had a huge impact onÂ me as a person as well as an artist.Â After college I landed jobs in Los Angeles working for World IndustriesÂ and Element Skateboards and got to see the ins and outs of the skateboardÂ industry.
Designing skateboards is the same as any other creative process in that itÂ is all about problem solving. When designing decks you get your brain intoÂ thinking about that limited space. When I design for companies I think ofÂ how to combine the companies style with my own personal style but in theÂ end it is to satisfy the client.
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at constructclothing.com, any otherÂ presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?
Robert Mars: constructclothing.com is an older site that used to showcase my apparelÂ line which IÂ have since stopped in order to focus on my galleries. You can also see myÂ work at robertmars.com, my
blog, myartspace.com and flickr; and at the gallery sites that represent me which are linked to at myÂ main website.
Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any otherÂ websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown youÂ new ways of creating art?
Robert Mars: I use the internet to do research for my extensive roadtrips as well asÂ read about history. I use flickr to find Americana icons, neon signs andÂ interesting areas, then cross reference it with google maps and streetÂ view and construct comprehensive maps! I also spend time just keepingÂ current on what shows are going on in other cities and keep up with otherÂ artists that I admire. I am influenced by artists like Jeff Schaller,Â Ellwood T Risk, Peter Mars (No relation), Melody Postma, Ted Larsen,Â Randall Reid, Adam Haynes, Kareem Rizk and Brandon McLean all forÂ different reasons but they all have a unique perspective of the world.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased onÂ your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love forÂ or connection to?
Robert Mars: I connect with all of my pieces, but my all time favorite piece is „PalmsÂ Motel“ which wasÂ the anchor piece for a show I had at Kidder Smith Gallery in 2007. It wasÂ the first piece thatÂ I completed for the show and I respond to it compositionally, as well asÂ the colors and image.Â I also love working on commissions with people so that it has a specialÂ meaning for them as well!
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of yourÂ artwork?
Robert Mars: I have been slowly working on a body of work based on matchbook artworkÂ from the 1950s – 1970s. (Sweet, Smooth, Sassy, Sturdi-Bilt and StrictlyÂ For Men are from this series) I will step away from the photographÂ transfers and paintÂ the imagery. It has been an exciting (but slow) process as I have all ofÂ my galleriesÂ to keep stocked with art. Look for a full show sometime in 2010.
Diskursdisko: Robert, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?
Robert Mars: Thank you for your interest in my artwork and for the interview. I updateÂ my blog at leastÂ a few times a week, so you can always keep up with my shows as well as newÂ artists that IÂ am looking at.
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