Somewhere in my teens I realized I wanted the thrill of art making to be the focus of my life. I spent a year at the Art Institute of Chicago and lost interest in school. I drifted for a few years and had the good fortune to settle in New York City in 1980. I worked with New York artists in a Soho print shop that specialized in fine art silkscreen prints. I went on to found my own art printing business and after 20 years the profession I mastered disappeared out from under me. I discovered that 20 years of mixing and matching color and interpreting other artists’ work gave me skill sets I was unaware of. I taught myself how to paint and developed a passion for it.
Art making is my way of questioning and exploring the world. I tend to work in series and often the research is as important as the painting. My first paintings were based on the work of my late father who was a photojournalist for the Boston Globe. He died when I was 20 and it was my way of reconnecting with him and exploring his amazing work. I explored the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln through my art. I did a series of pastel portraits of “Cult Icons” and a series of oil paintings of “Lone Nut” assassins. I did some fast loose paintings of the Vietnam War based on video stills and a series of Princess Diana’s last hours based on security camera footage. I have an ongoing interest in the Tarot and I Ching and I am currently enjoying exploring Maine through my painting.
Now in my 60’s I realize that life is a spiritual journey and my art needs to address that. I enjoy the idea that I cannot know where these explorations will lead but I do believe the best is yet to come. – Robert Preston – Arundel, Maine