My He(ART)-Full Life

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

interview with artist Robyn Gordon, Part 1

When I first came across artist Robyn Gordon's blog Art Propelled a couple of years ago, I was instantly drawn to her words, images and, of course, her stunning art. I spent the first 12 years of my life in South Africa so I have a deep love and appreciation for the African aesthetic. I cannot rave enough about her art...Robyn combines wood, metal and beads with her heart, soul and the very essence of Mother Africa. Her art captures the magic and essence of the human spirit living in harmony with the natural elements. Over the past couple of years Robyn has been an inspiration, mentor and friend to me; I am so proud and grateful for her presence. She so graciously granted me this interview for my blog; what an honor.  Thank you so much Robyn!!
Can you share a little of your creative process with us Robyn? Do you work solely from sketches or do you have an idea that you bring to your studio as you carve? I imagine there must be a lot of forethought and planning because you can't paint over your mistakes!
As you mentioned, if I make a mistake I can't just rub it out or paint over it so I do have to think very carefully before proceeding with the carving. I usually sketch many ideas in my sketchbook and when I'm satisfied with one of them I'll draw an outline onto the wood. Once I have cut out the initial shape of the piece I will mull over it and decide whether I need to make  adjustments within the shape. Sometimes I have a few "brainwaves" as I go along and if it's possible to make changes I will.
 Can you share how you began combining African and European elements into your carvings? Did this evolve gradually or was it a conscious choice on your part? Have you encountered difficulties in the merging of these two very different aesthetic sensibilities?
I havn't consciously combined the two sensibilities. What I do comes naturally because the merging of different cultures is what life in South Africa is all about. We are all influenced by different facets of each others cultures which is rather wonderful!
Have the politics of South Africa (before and after apartheid) ever influenced your art? If so, in what way? Has your art ever been political?
My art is my sanctuary so my work is a means of keeping myself calm. Politics is not condusive to this sense of calm. If anything my art helps me to remain sane in a country that is often thrown into upheaval
You are so prolific!! How do you keep your creative fires burning? In the past I turned to books for motivation and I still do but in the last few years Art blogs have played a very big part in keeping my creative fires burning. Reading about other artists struggles and how they overcome them can be very inspiring.
Can you tell us how you handle periods of artist block?
Every Summer I experience a block. Whether it's due to the heat or burn out after doing Christmas commissions, I'm not sure, but I am learning to accept it. Invariably when the weather starts cooling I get my energy back and I start work with new vigour. 
 You can visit Robyn's blog right here  Isn't her art just gorgous??? I think it all belongs in a museum so as many people as possible can enjoy it. Unless, of course, they were to all find a loving place in my home:) I will be posting Part 2 of my interview with Robyn soon.
P.S. Robyn's art is featured in this book right here by Seth Apter called the Pulse of Mixed Media. I just received my copy today and can't wait to read it!!!


SooZeQue said...

I've always loved her art! Each little box a story - carved to perfection. Beautiful

jane said...


Kelly said...

Her art is gorgeous! (and you are so prolific!...that made me smile. :))

mairedodd said...

a beautiful interview -
i am a deep admirer of robyn as well - of her art, of her sharing the art of others... how she constantly inspires... because of her i found what is now one of my most favorite books - and that spilled into my work...
a beautiful woman who does beautiful things - we should all be more like her...

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Its always fun to learn more about another artist. Thanks for this great interview. I will stay tuned for part 2!

patty said...

Oh,this is totally fabulous!! Thanks for sharing - what unique and beautiful work!! I'm going to send you an email too about something else that I just thought of!

ArtPropelled said...

Soraya, I can't thank you enough for such a lovely interview and it warms my heart to read the comments too. Thank you!