Con­tem­po­rary artist – and celebrity favourite – Robi Wal­ters’ first ex­hi­bi­tion in the Mid­dle East launches in DIFC

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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.

aCap­i­tal Club, Gate Vil­lage, Build­ing 3, DIFC, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3640111. Taxi: Gate Vil­lage Build­ing 3, DIFC. cap­i­tal­club­

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