Artist, architect, sculptor, and overall naturalist Richard Roblin is one of the island's talents that I have the great opportunity to know. Who can resist an invitation to his place - a place that will be soon featured in Boulevard magazine? I have always had a fascination with artists' studios. When you see an artist's studio you can begin to comprehend the extent of their work and so when I received a lunch invitation to Richard's new house I could not refuse. After having a wonderful Bouillabaisse soup perfectly prepared by Eve (Richard's wife) we went to his studio and had a fascinating chat about his art, his work, and his inspirations. Here are excerpts from our conversations.
Richard Roblin's Studio
Ivan - Can you give some background on yourself?
Richard - To start with, I’m not an architect, but I have always held architecture as one of the great arts. My choice when I was in my teens was to go to architecture school or develop myself as an artist. I decided to do both. Direct from the early days I started to paint and what I painted was primarily the structure of nature and how it translated into the structure of creation itself, the creation of buildings and the creation of environments. That’s always been my primary interest in life, discovering new ways of creating environments that instil contemplative and inspirational spaces with a passion for beauty.
I guess my passion for beauty was instilled through my love of nature. I was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wrights’ philosophy of integration which is primary to my point of view as well, that there is nothing separate from nature.
Roblin Residence 2008 - Duncan, BC
What do you think dominates your art? The use of colour or the use of form?
Richard - Atmosphere. I don’t believe we are separate from the atmosphere we are in. The information, knowledge and inspirations that are there are compounded by being in a specific place and you are drawing the energy of the place. It’s the energy and response of a given place, it’s always shifting, it’s ephemeral.
Art in Context - Private Residence Montreal
Ivan -Is your art influenced by architecture or your architecture influenced by art?
Richard - I think one informs the other.
House and Home Article
Ivan - Because you are coming from an architectural background, do you think you have an advantage in the use of scale and proportion and also do use this knowledge in your art pieces?
Richard - I think the aspiration of every artist is to find equilibrium. In nature, everything is very well balanced.
Richard - I think there is direct naturalness that goes into the process and a love for the activity. It’s always a unique event.
Awakening - Art in Context
Ivan - Lately you been translating your art to area rugs, why this media?
Richard - I love to design everything: tables, lamps, sculptures and textiles. I’m interested in creating things. The creative desire is always there.
Richard - Luis Barragán from Mexico. His use of colour, form, and the uniqueness of his designs.
Ivan - Since I first met you over 2 years ago, your work has taken an interesting development and moved away from being very linear to being more organic...
Richard - I tend to work in series. Every form is worth trying, whether it’s organic or linear.
Rosentzeig Collection, Montreal
Ivan - It is difficult to show your art to full effect when you are showing pictures on the website, how do you try and deal with this?
Richard - I try and present my work on their own, and often in context. I believe that the environment that the work of art is integrated into is part of the artifact because it’s not in a museum. Often when I am presenting my work over the internet I will present it as an idea or inspiration of how it would appear in a living environment - that we live with these artifacts. It’s an everyday experience.
Ivan - We were discussing how technology has influenced our lives, how has technology influenced your art pieces now?
Richard - Well I’m more and more using the computer as in instrument to help in the creative process. I can use the computer to integrate pieces and then alter them to create new inspirations.
It’s all process. There is not a beginning or an end, it’s a continuum. We are always playing in that continuum, in that dance. So I don’t see a beginning or an end, I see the dance. As a dancer I just dance. As a painter I just paint.
Ivan - Coming from Montreal and having travelled extensively, how has your transition to life on Vancouver Island been?
Richard - It’s been a beautiful experience actually. There are no accidents. I always thought one day I would be living here. There is no shortage of inspiration , it’s a great place to be.
So many of my primary inspirations have come from my beautiful wife. Also inspiration comes from mediation which I try to practice every day.
Ivan - Thank you Richard, it's been a pleasure learning about your art and sharing the afternoon with you in your home and studio.