Contemporary artist – and celebrity favourite – Robi Walters’ first exhibition in the Middle East launches in DIFC
An interview with artist-tothe-stars Robi Walters
Contemporary artist Robi Walters is showcasing his mixed media work in Dubai until June 30. The British artist is renowned for his collaborations with celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney and Mary J Blige, with the likes of Bryan Adams, Thandie Newton, Usain Bolt and Michael Bublé all collectors of his work.
Can you tell us about the conception of your work?
I like to make things that people throw away beautiful. I love patterns and geometry – they provide my work with fundamental structure and building blocks from which I can be more creative and fluid. I also meditate daily and have referenced the thousand-petalled lotus.
How do you begin?
I start with collecting the material, decide on a colour palette and spray the card. Most of my pieces are quite bold colours and I also incorporate fluorescents and metallic, which really bring the work alive. Each petal is cut by hand (both with scissors and with a hand-wound die cutting machine) – this process can take up to a few days. Each petal is individually glued on to plywood, starting from the outside and working into the middle.
What are some important themes you explore?
I wanted to start creating collage but wasn’t quite sure what materials to use. I remember looking at my overflowing recycling box and thinking about consumerism and the current state of our planet. So that’s what I started with. I also love the idea of transforming something discarded or unwanted into something beautiful – everything has inherent value.
Does your work demand a lot of research?
I am constantly reading, watching, listening to references and people that inspire me, which carries over into my work. My work is an extension of my personal exploration.
The lotus-like pieces are quite hypnotic. Was that the intention?
My work is an extension of my meditation practice, which I’ve been doing for 20 years. Meditation can rebalance your electromagnetic field, allowing you to deal with the every day in a calmer manner. The collage pieces are based on the thousand-petal lotus and can be aesthetically mesmerising. Some collectors have said that when they’ve hung my work on their walls, it feels like it has recalibrated the energy in the room.
What are your favourite pieces that you have created?
Starting in 2011 I started to paint every day. At first I really struggled and now looking back it’s one of my favourite projects I’ve done.
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