The latest Artist Showcase presents the layered work of Robert Schoolfield. Robert was introduced to art by his grandmother at a young age, and he still counts her as one of his key inspirations. He applauds creativity in whatever shape or form it comes in, noting the higher importance a work’s content and messages than the identity of the maker.
When did your interest in art/creating begin?
My grandmother, who is an artist, introduced me to art at a young age. I can remember doing crafty things at her house and we were there quite a bit. I didn’t really develop my own interest until I was 17 or so. I had always made art up until that point but I never really considered it anything beyond something I just naturally did.
What is your starting point for each piece?
Typically, I start by writing thoughts that are going on with me or something that may have happened throughout the day or something recent. I also save things that I find interesting. For example, I’ve been through a lot of treatment centers for depression and bipolar disorder and they give you a lot of worksheets about how to cope with life. Sometimes I use those worksheets as a layer or I also tear pages from books, just anything that catches my attention. The beginning layers are pretty personal, I write a lot of things that get covered up. But that’s kind of like life, everything is eventually buried in history. From that point I usually repeat the process and incorporate paints and I draw on top and I like to use a lot of layers.
Who or what influences your work?
My main influences are my own thoughts and feelings. I try to relate that I am human too and I think and feel things. The people that influence my work can be anyone. Anyone can make you think differently about what you do whether they’re trying to or not. I also really wouldn’t have the same interest in art if it wasn’t for my grandmother, so she’s definitely a big inspiration to me. Some of my favorite artists are Basquiat, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock and Van Gogh.
What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?
I think that if I can provoke a thought or feeling in someone then that’s amazing. Anything else they get from the piece is extra. I don’t have much to offer in this life so I make art to show my appreciation. Its a privilege to be able to be creative and express how we feel and relate to one another. Human connection.. wonder.. I like to let you know that you can be comfortable being yourself.
What do you think about the term outsider art? Is there a term that you think works better?
I really like the term Outsider Art. I think it describes new art perfectly, especially those who make excellent work that don’t get any recognition. Most of the greatest people were outcasts and outsiders and just think of all of the people that were just as great but were never known about. I think its a great term.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m still chasing the same style that I’ve developed over the years and I’m working on a series called The Signature Series where I sign “Signature” where the signature would typically go because who made the art doesn’t necessarily matter as much as what is being conveyed. All creativity comes from the same infinite well of existence. At least that’s how I think about it in the here and now.
Where do you see your work taking you in the future?
I’d really just like to make a living off of what I do and inspire other people along the way. Most importantly though, I want to remain a doorway for creativity to walk through.. to stay true to the art. I’m really not sure how I see it unfolding, I’m kind of just along for the ride and staying opened minded when it comes to opportunities.