Robert Witzack

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?

There was  a small wooden paint box around the house that belonged to my father. It had small tubes of old oil paint with wonderful colors, and though he had passed away when I was quite young, my mother and other family members told me how he had loved to draw and paint. Perhaps in the beginning my painting was seeking an experience of my father.

What types of things inspire you to create art?

I am inspired by what has the power or the magic to evoke a sense of passion whether it be beauty, grace, or mystery. It could be in the form of a human face or an old car. It could be an object of reverence. It doesn't have to be beautiful. It could be worn and weathered; for instance, "a face that history practiced on" as the words go from a song in Brecht's "Three Penny Opera" or a in a ruin that one can feel is full of stories, or an object that has touched or been touched by many lives.  

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist?

Foremost, the guidance and  encouragement of my teachers. Mrs Spicer in second grade, Father Lenahan in High School and Professor Scwalbach at U-Rock among several others. A field trip to the Chicago Art Institute. I have spent many solitary hours communing among rusted out cars in auto salvage yards- sketching. I have made pilgrimages to the Shrines of the Holy Land, and much later in life, spent a week in Paris.

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.

The process has evolved over many years. I have worked primarily in oils and have painted both realistic and abstract; both from my own inspiration and from a desire to re-create much admired works of personal art heroes. The work might have begun with an idea or sketch of my own devising or from a reproduced photo of a masterpiece. In the case of the former, the image gradually emerges into something that could hardly be imagined at the beginning stages. In the later, I started working from an illustration or two that I might find in an art history book. In that instance I already know what I want to achieve. It is the challenge to create a work which I see as my own homage to the original (whether- a Raphael or an Edward Hopper). It might be as exact as I can make it or a composite version that I have set out to do.

What plans do you have for the future direction of your art?

I plan to work, in future, with greater reliance on my inner guide for inspiration. I want to explore the spirit that brings us together as conscious beings. I want to look for illumination in  the mystery and wonder of what is universal and the work will seek to pay homage to that. I anticipate this as returning full circle.

To learn more about Robert's exhibition, CLICK HERE.