Royal Robertsons Regal Robot
Oil on Panel
Royal Robertson was an American folk artist that created strange and captivating art. Often his pieces revolved around a strange mixture of science fiction and religious imagery. Underneath or surrounding the images he would include his own ramblings, often rants about what he dislikes in people. I think Royal Robertson made work with a level of confidence and freedom many artists envy. He painted and drew exactly what was on his mind, whether it was simple monster movies or religious prophecies, if he had an idea to convey he wouldn't get bogged down in subtleties and symbolism, he just wrote it upon the image. Often the messages he was trying to convey were retrograde, sexist, or just mean but they were honest expressions of the artist himself. These kinds of expressions of character, untampered by a culture's expectations, are what many people say they like in art but are all too frequently undermined by artists who obscure their intentions, or compromise their message.
With my take on Royal's work I wasn't trying to replicate him. I always find that the crude simplicity of his and other folk artists' work leaves room for the imagination. As I look at many of his pieces I find myself trying to parse out what wasn't described: What is that decorative element for? Is this thing a robot? A person? and whats up with the stuff on its head, is that jewelry? antennas? Satellite Dishes? In this project I was filling in the gaps Royal Robertson left behind.