Saturday, November 28, 2009

Five Minutes With Crayon Artist Jeffrey Robert

It probably began in the mid-nineties. I was in a small West End restaurant called 21st Street Delight. Upon entering the side door I turned and saw a very moving painting of an elderly Native American. The eyes seemed so compelling, revealing so much. I don't always do this, but I had to ask who did it, and the waitress said the artist had a studio upstairs and he did it with Crayola crayons. This blew me away, so I had to go up and meet the guy.

I scarfed down my lunch and went upstairs. He was in, so I introduced myself. As it turns out, he had two sons and one of them also happened to be an artist who worked in crayons, Jeffrey Robert.

I immediately contacted Jeffrey and asked if I could see some of his own work. The young girl here (upper left) was the first piece he sent me. What a beautiful, beautiful painting. As someone who knows, re-creating such delicate beauty in any medium is a challenging task. And I was grateful that he permitted me to showcase the piece in The Virtual Gallery on my website at that time.

Since then, Jeffrey has moved back to the Hawaii of his youth, continuing to create work of great beauty and sensitivity. The colors are rich because of the spectrum Crayola has so grenerously provided. Who among us growing up didn't thrive on that range of colors Crayola offered in their 64-crayon green and yellow box? I know I did. And I also know I never produced anything like these.

FIVE MINUTES WITH JEFFREY ROBERT

Ennyman: Can you share some of the feedback you get when people find out that you do all your “paintings” primarily with Crayola crayons?

JR: When viewing my crayon art, the first reaction is one of confusion and then disbelief. Afterwards a feeling of excitement that a new fine art genre has been created with an art medium that they are so familiar with. This is why I have said that if crayons had been available to the old masters they would have considered them to be a high tech palette in a box.

Enny: I still remember being floored by that first image I saw of the young girl. When did you first begin to recognize that you had natural artistic abilities?

JR: When I was 12 years old, growing up in Hawaii I naturally wanted my own surfboard. I was already considered by my school peers to be a good artist so with that built in “credibility” I used cans of spray paint that were lying around the house and created surfing pictures on t-shirts, selling them to the kids at school for $2.50 each. I earned enough money through my natural artistic abilities to buy my very first surfboard!

Enny: How much of what you do is natural ability and how much is training? Can anyone learn to do what you do?

JR: I’d say 50% natural ability and 50% training; I believe that training goes right along with natural ability. They can learn my techniques but past that they have to develop their own style in order to be unique.

Enny: Do you have a favorite artist or artists who inspire you?

JR: Maxfield Parrish

Enny: What direction do you see your work going in the next few years?

JR: I see a continuation of building on my signature brand Crayon Collectibles which distinguish my artwork from all others.

Enny: What is your process for making decisions regarding color, subject matter, etc.?

JR: I start with a vision of the completed work, then as the process of creating evolves, my creative insight leads me to adjust the color, texture and depth variations.

Enny: What trends do you see occurring in the contemporary art scene that will affect you and in what ways?

JR: Because of the cluttered and complex lifestyles of today‘s high tech world, the trends that I see are in everyday people looking for simple expressions that relate to them emotionally to trigger a feeling or thought of tranquility, beauty and peace.

Enny: Thank you for your time and your insights.

To see more works by Jeffrey Robert,
visit these two wonderful websites:
Click images to enlarge.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome. What are your techniques. I'm also an artist.

ENNYMAN said...

Jeffrey can be found at http://www.thecrayonartist.com/#home
Yes, his work is awesome.