The Mystery of Artists
by Kamila Szymczak
I have always been fascinated by artists, whatever sort of art they create. This was strengthened by the fact that my view on most of the things in the world has always been too analytical or practical. I am not ashamed to say that I am jealous of their talent, passion and creativity. It is hard to be specific whether it is talent that triggers the passion to flourish, or it is a passion through which a true talent may be revealed. And finally, what do we really know about the process of becoming an artist? Is it about being dedicated to practicing his or her art?
Staying with my fascination for art, I can appreciate both the pieces of art made by the most famous artists and those who have been collecting their works only in their desk drawers. As an observer only, I have often been wondering what makes an artist ‘an artist’? Is it possible to understand their imagination and where their ideas come from? Or will it always stay a mystery?
I have never been close to any artist, so this question has stayed open for me. During my stay in Newton Dee, though, I have had an opportunity to get to know Robin Wise, whose works have truly captivated me. He is a self-taught artist who draws and paints and is highly specialised in black pen drawing. He does mainly detailed, often highly-patterned works, usually representational, which depict something easily recognizable by most people. However, among his works one can also find abstract pieces. Truly appreciating his talent and skills, I found it very difficult to enter his world as an artist; this has been my aim and challenge.
Robin draws inspiration from everyday life – people, places, situations. Also, he seems directly inspired by art – photos, pictures, paintings. When looking at the paintings in an art gallery, he seems to know exactly which ones he likes, and which hold his attention for quite a while, as if he was trying to memorise them; whereas those which are out of his interest remain almost unnoticed by him.
What I found particularly captivating is the link between drawing and his second passion – photography. He is a great fan of taking photos of people, landscapes and everyday objects. When looking at the realistic life scenes he draws, one can see that Robin has a highly developed photographic memory and that his photographs largely influence his works. He prefers using a polaroid camera that can give him almost instant results, which seems to be more similar to drawing than taking photos with a digital camera.
In his works we can observe notions of different art styles, but what stays really unique and is repeated quite frequently by Robin is that the objects in the drawings seem transparent. It cannot be easily seen, without trying to approach the artistic process analytically and logically, which of the objects were drawn first.
As mentioned before, many of his drawings are highly patterned - blades of grass, stones, pebbles, bricks. These highly-detailed drawings get very close to black and white modern illustration works and also show some traces of pointillism, where artists draw or paint many small dots which could be differentiated when looking close at the drawing, but not when looking from a distance. This may be not be noticable to everyone, but using this technique produces numerous shades of grey and black.
There are many questions concerning Robin’s art that unfortunately will have to stay unanswered. I am sure though that after having a closer look at his art, I know what makes him a real artist. He makes me feel and think. His passion, talent and determination allow him to create the works that make it impossible for me to stay idle and indifferent. Am I able to understand why it is happening? No. I do not know how he became an artist, how he learnt what he knows, how he developed his skills. I don’t have to know it. I just enjoy his art.