Sometimes you just need to shake things up. Routine and patterns can foster complacency and stifle creativity. My guest Robert Chiarito lives to change things up when it comes to his artwork. Much of our conversation centered around the theme of “Breaking the mold.” Our conversation spanned some great topics like walking away from gallery representation, to being critical of work that “Comes easy,” and cultivating a flavor of unpredictability in his work. Robert was exceedingly gracious with his time and with his level of honesty. Make sure to catch the images of his inspiring work at the end of this post!
Walking away from gallery representation
In an ever-changing art world, is it realistic to expect to make a living by showing your work in art galleries? Robert Chiarito resolved early on in his career to creating the art he wanted to make regardless of what galleries or art collectors wanted to see. This decision has afforded him the freedom to cultivate an unpredictable flavor to the artwork he produces. Robert’s work as an educator has contributed to the independence he is able to enjoy. Even though he hasn’t depended on the income from the sales of his paintings, Robert has had his work in galleries over the years. Each artist’s path is going to be different. Find what works for you and above all, be authentic to the work you were made to create.
What’s behind the “Drive” to paint?
The beautiful thing about interviewing a wide range of artists is getting to hear what motivates and drives each one of them. There might be some common threads but each person gives their explanation in a unique way. Artist Robert Chiarito describes the reason why he paints as, “Discovering what will happen and to see where things go.” Robert is fascinated by the basic interaction of positives and negatives in any painting technique. He has an intriguing perspective that really made me see things from a different angle, I loved hearing him explain his motivations.
Skepticism for art that “Comes easy”
You’ve heard the saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Does that saying apply to art? Should you be skeptical when things come to you easily? My guest is artist Robert Chiarito and he is convinced that any work that he produces that comes easily should be scrutinized. This doesn’t mean that Robert never produces his art that just comes upon him in a rush of inspiration. At the end of the day, he has learned that if a painting comes easily it to him it usually lacks the depth and nuance he tries to cultivate.
Avoiding predictability in art
After practicing your craft over many years, there is a temptation to go into “Autopilot” mode. It happens to some of the best and talented artists out there. So how do you avoid this trap? How do you “Break the mold?” Artist Robert Chiarito has dedicated his efforts to continually change things up with his art for this very purpose. He looks for ways big and small to deviate from patterns and predictability in his work. Some challenges have arisen from this intense focus to stand out and do things differently. My conversation with Robert was fascinating as we explored his efforts and the insights he has gained along the way.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:30] I introduce today’s guest Robert Chiarito.
- [2:00] Robert talks about what drove him to pursue art.
- [7:30] What type of work is Robert involved in now?
- [12:00] Finding your voice as an artist.
- [14:20] Growth as an artist.
- [16:30] Responses to Robert’s work.
- [23:00] How does Robert deal with his changing interests and galleries?
- [29:30] Why does Robert paint?
- [33:30] What is Robert obsessed with right now?
- [39:30] Why doesn’t Robert trust himself with a painting that doesn’t come quickly?
- [44:00] How does Robert keep things fresh and avoiding autopilot?
- [48:55] Which artist’s work would Robert love to own?
This episode sponsored by:
Other artists mentioned on this episode
- Pierre Bonnard
- George McNeil
- Art Brut
- Jean Dubuffet
- Jim Nutt
- Karl Wirsum
- Christina Ramberg
- Chicago Imagists
- Hairy Who
- William Brice
- Richard Diebenkorn
- Philip Guston
- Wayne Thiebaud
- Vincent van Gogh
Resources Mentioned on this episode
- Robert’s website: robertchiarito.com