I have always found it difficult to write about my work. So much of it “just happens”. In my studio I am surrounded by hundreds of objects I’ve collected on numerous walks all over the world, flea market finds, trips to junk shops (read; antique shops) wild hunts on the internet. Some are gifts I’ve received from friends who think, “ oh, Bob needs this!”
I rarely start the process with a particular idea in mind. Making the work is like playing improvisational music. I begin by building a basic form and then add layers and layers of unrelated objects; small beads, antique nails, feathers, bones, plastic toys, etc. I add the layers as I would add paint, color or add notes in an improvisational music piece.
How do I know when a piece is finished? I don’t! Some pieces have been worked on for many, many years. Objects added, taken away, painted, or reshaped. The pieces are always subject to change. I’ve even made a few pieces beginning with objects provided to me by the person commissioning a work.
My influences are many. Nature never fails to inspire me. The books I read, advertising/graphics in old magazines, music of all types, religious icons, Greek roadside shrines, (kandylakia), West African/Haitian Vodun shrines, Benin Botchio figures, and all sorts of altars. As you may guess I’m also very fond of Nkisi or Nkondi figures, Mkisi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The work of other artists also inspires me, makes me see the world differently. Ultimately I hope to create work that helps people smile, think and sometimes question what they feel safe with.