UPDATE 1/30/2012: Stretch goal announced
If my project can reach, or exceed $1,400, anyone who has pledged between $1 and $300 will have their reward upgraded one level if they choose.
Pop artist Robert Burke
What?Design your own creature for Robert to paint
Because we want to smile.
Because the walls between artist and viewer are too thick.
Because we see beauty in diversity.
This project is a collaboration between artist and viewer - all paintings created will be documented, and stretch goal rewards are planned if goals are exceeded.
Rewards that are not original paintings will be sent as soon as the project ends if the funding goal is reached. Original paintings will be done and sent out in the order the pledges were received. All work will be completed and mailed by the end of summer 2012, and most should be done well before that depending on the response.
I send you a list of creature features to select from.
You design your creature by selecting the features you want to use.
You send it back to me.
I paint an original work of art featuring the creature you designed.
I send the original work of art to you and post your creature on robertburkeart.com
If my work makes you smile please consider pledging, and/or share with your social network.
Some of the pledge rewards in addition to original artwork:
8"X10" Sticker Sheet
8"X12" Metal Signs
My name is Robert Burke and I’m and artist who has been working in the Southeast, painting my own whimsical creatures over the last 20 years.
I went to art school in the late 80s and have been working really hard on a pretentious artist statement ever since, but it just doesn’t work for me. I suppose the only thing I want to do with my art, is make people smile.
My art is simple, whimsical and easily recognizable. But this wasn’t always so. Back when I first had the stupid idea to become an artist, I was doing crazy surrealist paintings like this, or this..... After all, what 20-year old doesn’t think Salvador Dali and Max Ernst were the best artists to ever live? Well luckily, I got over that phase.
I had a desire to do something more immediate and after I discovered the work of Keith Haring I saw something exciting about his primitive style and the spirit contained within his thick black lines.
I started to experiment and soon had drawn some whimsical creatures that got some great feedback, so I stuck with it. I won’t give you the details of the last 20 years of evolution, but after many gallery shows (including one with the late, great Howard Finster), and public murals which appeared on the walls of many coffee shops and restaurants in the Southeast, including a hand painted McDonald’s restaurant, I found support from the Thomas Jefferson Center For The Protection Of Freedom Of Expression in a first amendment lawsuit I filed after one of my murals was censored by the City of Charleston, SC. They deemed the colors I used as too “garish” and said it didn’t fit in with the historic theme of the city.
I lost the case at the 4th circuit on standing.
Eventually I took the path of many young artists. I fell in love, got married and had children. I settled into what parents would call a “real career” in technology, and my creatures settled comfortably into the background of my life.
Well, over the last couple years my children reached school age and I’ve had more time to get back into my art in a big way.
Alright, so about my creatures...
My creatures are not developed as complete units and I don’t think about what I’m going to do before I start a new painting.
You see, over the years I’ve developed a vocabulary of lines - an alphabet of creature parts. Different noses, ears, legs, bodies, tails, wings, etc...
So when I begin a new painting I grab a blank canvas and start with the eyes. Sometimes it’s one eye, sometimes two, sometimes 3 or more. Then I put my alphabet of creature parts together with automatic drawing. That is, I don’t think, I just do.
The end result is usually a creature that I’ve never seen before. This keeps it exciting for me, and sometimes I feel like I have to create every creature possible, which is a bit obsessive and wacky since that would be impossible.
Sometimes the creatures come out cute, and sometimes weird, but what I love the most is that that many times they emerge with their own strong personalities.
The greatest joy is when I see someone walk into my booth at an art show and smile. Not because of me, or anything I’ve done, but because something with a particular creature makes them chuckle inside.
This is why I create.
I also think in our current world is a place where diversity is espoused by most, but not truly embraced. At the highest level, my paintings are not just a statement for tolerance, but a complete embrace of the beauty of diversity.
It’s not until we grow up that we start separating ourselves.
Just as humans have the same parts, but are shaped, and colored in different, sometimes subtle ways, so is my art. And although I would love to think my art could help people see how special diversity is, I’m not so pretentious to think I can do that.
So, I’ll settle for a smile.
So what’s my project?
Well, I want to complete a series of paintings that I don’t design with my usual automatic drawing, but that are designed by you.
I provide a list of my alphabet to you, that is different creature parts and you tell me which ones to use.
You pick a nose, ears, body, etc. From there, I create the creature you designed, post it to the web and send you the original.
It’s a true collaboration between an artist and the viewer.
I get the artist credit and you get the designer credit.
I hope you’ll see value in my idea and give it a try, I would love to see what you come up with!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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