When I first saw his work, I immediately felt that he demonstrates a mastery and deep understanding of abstract expressionism which he has taken to a whole new level...
This explains how happy I feel for this art presentation and interview of Robert Szot, an abstract artist who I really admire for his talent and complexity of vision!
Robert is a self-taught artist from Texas, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
In his artworks we mainly see asymmetrical monochromatic fields combined together in multiple layers creating a soft texture.
The colors he uses are bright, vivid and harmoniously contrasting!
Every painting, especially in abstract art, evokes different kinds of feelings and tells a different story to each person. For me the art of Robert Szot has a strong, visually stimulating energy, sometimes aggressive, sometimes soothing, always creating movement and depth , passion and mystery…
But let's discover a bit more about the artist, through this short interview...
What was the first time that you realized you are an artist?
I remember thinking ‘I’ve definitely made a step forward’ when I moved into a studio that had heat - but that’s not a real answer to your question. Frankly I don’t label myself as an ‘artist’, I prefer the ‘painter’ moniker if someone asks what I do for a living. The word ‘artist’ is very overused and it’s thrown around very causally to describe all sorts of people. It is a shame really because an ‘artist’ to me is someone who has dedicated their entire life to their creations and has put in the work to make something very personal to themselves above all. ‘Artist’ is a very serious word to me and a lot of ‘artists’ just don’t get there in my opinion, including me maybe.
Why do you make art? What need do you satisfy by painting?
I think the most important thing you can do is to leave proof you existed. Art, and painting in particular, serve as a marker for someone’s life. I fell in love with painting when I stood in front of one and perceived that I could understand the person who made it and why it had to be made. I wanted to be a part of that. Just like everyone I’ve spent my life trying to be understood and I haven’t been very successful at it. I found with painting that it’s been a bit easier to communicate. Perhaps it’s because a painting demands audience participation or there is a bit of a mystery in a painting that brings people in and makes them want to understand. Maybe it’s because I eliminate conversation and a painting succeeds where my words fail. I don’t know but it’s something along those lines that make painting seductive.
Plus I love painting. A painting is just for me, it’s mine alone until it goes out into the world. The act of painting is very selfish and I don’t care if it is. Art should be selfish.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can't live without in your studio?
Like a physical object? It would have to be this old paintbrush handle that has no bristles but still has the metal finial at the end. I scrape lines into the paint with it to add a bit of a drawing element to my compositions. I’ve had it for 15 years. That and I’m very particular about my linen.
Which is the idea, the inspiration behind your last artwork (photo below)?
I don’t feel inspired to paint. My paintings aren’t about an idea so I never feel inspired to express anything. My work has always informed me and not the other way around. It’s an old adage but a true one when someone says going to work every day is enough inspiration. Get in there and let the work attack you, embrace you, and ultimately you will reach a satisfying conclusion.
How do you know when a piece is done?
That’s very difficult for me. I never think a painting is done. I’m forced to stop working on every painting.
If you found yourself clinking glasses with your favorite artist, who would you choose and what would you ask him/her?
It would have to be Francis Bacon. I’ve always been fascinated by his work. I doubt we would talk about art. I’d rather get drunk with him and go gamble whatever money we had into oblivion. Sounds fun right?
Absolutely! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with Porfyra's art lovers! It's been really fascinating!
Can't get enough of Robert Szot's art?
Click links below:
Then Again, Who Does?
September 5th - October 12th
Anita Rogers Gallery
15 Greene Street
New York City