An Interview with Robert Arnow: Current Artist on Display at BCL

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BCL features pieces from local artists in the third floor gallery.  BCL's newest installation features "Reclaim" by Brooklyn native, Rob Arnow. This current series of oil paintings takes a look at the damage humanity is doing to it's environment, while tempting us with images of the aesthetically pleasing aftermath.

See more of Rob's artwork at www.robarnow.com.

Q: What inspired you to become an artist?

A: I grew up in the middle of Brooklyn.  In the urban chaos, the bright intense color of graffiti really grabbed me and I admired it.  Eventually, I started doing a lot of graffiti, mostly just in notebooks but also in the real world and that was kind of my entrée, that’s when I started being passionate about art.

Q: What’s currently inspiring you?

A: My current body of work ties together a lot of different things I’m interested and passionate about.  I’m passionate about the urban landscapes that I grew up in and lived in most of my life and I also love nature. On a very simple level the paintings bring both of those things together.  I think on a deeper level people feel a sense of sadness about the loss of the natural world to human development. There’s a little bit of an almost triumph of the underdog type of excitement to seeing animals reclaim the earth and the aftermath of humanity disappearing. There’s also something a little more meta that inspires me which is the way that showing a time past us gives a certain amount of perspective on what we are and the place we exist in.  We live in this very narrow slice of time and yet, we have a cognitive illusion that there’s a permanence to our existence and society, which is really not the case.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being an artist?

A: It just viscerally feels very calming, peaceful and whole to be doing it. There's a certain satisfaction to working on something three-dimensional with physical paints that goes far beyond what I get out of what I do for money. Sitting in front of a computer doesn’t have the same sense of euphoria.

Q. What is your least favorite part about being an artist?

A. I’m working on a piece right now that is 6 feet by 4 feet and it’s really time consuming. There’s something about the amount of patience that’s required to do this type of work.  Right now I’m in a phase where it feels like work.  It feels very draining and it's not giving me a lot of emotional sustenance.

Q: Why is this art more advanced then your other pieces?

A: It is technically much more advanced.  The style is super realistic which is similar to old European paintings.  The pieces require a lot of time building up layers.  Previously, I was doing much simpler types of techniques with a simpler subject matter and limited color palettes. This work broke through those boundaries so it’s no longer limited by my technical ability.

This interview was edited for clarity and flow.

Come up to the third floor, grab an information card and check out this latest installation.

Interested in showing your work at BCL?  Reach out to Neil@BrooklynCreativeLeague.com