Welcome back to the Off the Hooks Arts Blog! We all know times are tough right now. Our worlds have been impacted and limited in ways we could never have imagined, but through it all, art has helped to keep us all afloat. Whether you enjoy music, films, painting, or dance, art has proven to be essential to both our appreciation and escape from life’s hardships.
We are excited you are here and grateful for your support. It’s because of viewers and listeners like you, Off the Hook Arts can feature and support so many talented artists, so thanks!
In our first post back, we would like to feature one of our very talented artist’s in the Alcove, Robbie Mann.
At first glance, it’s easy to assume Robbie Mann’s work is all about light-hearted fantasy and fun. However, Mann’s self-proclaimed surrealist style is merely a way into a more philosophical conversation about the human condition. Listening to him talk about his own work, it’s clear that Robbie knows how to laugh at himself and at life, but don’t let that mislead you, Robbie Mann is a serious artist whose complexity goes beyond his bizarre use of shape and color.
One of our interns, Dominic, had a revealing conversation with the artist about his style, influences and what it’s been like for him to access his creativity, as a working artist, during a global pandemic.
“You can tell how serious I am.”
Robbie laughs sarcastically. He goes on to describe the simple everyday things we all do that get tabooed and discouraged in ways that hinder our own everyday humanity. In his own words, Robbie asks,
“How can I create this very elaborate, cartoonish and grotesque looking figure that’s doing something even more bizarre and just sort of screaming about it at the same time?”
Robbie’s sardonic caricatures infused with radiant color are a nod, not only to his sense of humor, but to the paradoxes within our own cultural awareness. In his series, “Men In Power (A Series Of White Privilege In Portraits),”
Robbie uses his artwork to focus on historical power structures at play in the US, centralizing his artistically derisive representations of some of the powerful individuals in our contemporary culture. Can you guess who they are? Check out the series here HERE.
Robbie Mann’s work has deep intellectual themes that both highlight and question his own assumptions about society as well as the deep-rooted limitations society imposes on all of us. Robbie confronts the uncomfortable nature of power by highlighting the absurd with his uniquely comical and colorful storytelling. His ability to draw the viewer into his world of bizarre characters and exaggerated themes makes his work approachable, while at the same time, keeps you guessing.
You can hear more of Dominic’s interview with Robbie Mann on the Off the Hook Arts podcast episode called “The Art of Honest Exaggeration.” While you’re there, check out some of our past episodes highlighting many of our talented artists supported by Off the Hook Arts, and listeners just like you.