Meet the Artist: Bob Arrigo

Welcome to the second edition of our Meet The Artist series: a monthly feature on our website giving you a little more information and perspective into the lives of our many talented artists!  We hope you enjoy this second edition in our series, and that you will look forward to future editions on the first Saturday of every month.
Today we would like to introduce you to  Bob Arrigo.  His unique style is a wonderful part to the collections available here at the gallery, so we hope that you enjoy his work as much as we do, and that you enjoy learning a little more about this very talented painter. Give us a little history of you: where you came from and how you got where you are today: At the age of 5, I fell in love with drawing, and by 8 I dreamed about being a famous artist when I grew up.  In high school I won an award for being ‘The Student with the Greatest Achievements in Art’ – this award was accompanied by a grant covering 3 years of fine art education in downtown Toronto.  At this point in time I was selling original hand-thrown pottery to downtown gift boutiques to pay for art supplies.  I was then accepted as a student in the very first year at the Sheridan College Campus in Oakville – my course was Animation and Cinematography. Upon graduation I pursued a career as a professional musician and toured for about 5 years, but never stopped drawing, creating, and writing through that time. I created original commissioned sculptural macramé and multi media fibre art for designers and high-end retailers such as deBoers.  Books of my original designs have been published four times by a Canadian book publisher for distribution across North America. In 1979 I established Arrigo Signs and Graphics Inc., managing my own studio as well as supplying creative services to other sign companies, advertising studios and industry related businesses.  I placed Top 3 in a worldwide truck lettering competition by the largest and oldest industry trade magazine in existence, and my work and interviews were published several times by Signcraft Magazine: a competitive industry publication with head offices in Florida. It wasn’t until the late 90s that I began painting original oil and acrylic fine art.  I no longer dream of being a ‘famous’ artist, but of being and artist who is true to his calling.  This I find is a high ideal to achieve and maintain. What inspires your work? The fear of poverty (just kidding). Being primarily a landscape artist I would have to say my inspiration is nature, God’s masterpiece. But capturing even a fragment of the essence of what he created would be near miraculous! Describe your technique: About a year ago I transitioned from acrylic to oils and there is no question: that is where I will stay. I work with a brush in a heavy impasto wet on wet application. BobArrigo171235 BobArrigo171234             What other types of art and materials have you explored and what is your favourite medium? I have indulged myself in so many art mediums I honestly don’t think I could list them. But at this point in my life I can say without hesitation, I have settled on painting with oil and creative writing as my primary means of artistic expression. Do you have any interesting stories from creating your art or in your day to day life? Every day of my life from as far back as I can remember I have been involved in some kind of creative project. I have learned to ‘turn the juice on”, pretty much at will. The creative juice helped develop my character as a child, it helped pay my way through school, it gave me career direction, it paid the bills for a lifetime to raise a family of three children (I was very handy to have around the house during school project time), and it has provided me with an exciting and enriching retirement plan. How do your studio and surroundings influence your work? My studio is several hundred square feet of creative space with every nature of project in process, however I wish it were bigger, brighter, and located somewhere on a mountain top amidst virgin forest and mountain streams. Do you have a favorite tool to work with or that inspires your work? I like a good garden shovel, but it doesn’t help much with my painting. What impresses you about other artists’ work and who impresses you today? Really I can’t say there are too many artists that DON’T impress me. As long as they are conscientiously and consistently attempting to create something original as opposed to reproducing ‘formula’ art for the sake of more sales. In my opinion a painting should have an immediate impact on the mind and emotions of the viewer, but if the emotional response of the viewer is always the same, I’m afraid it doesn’t give testimony to too much depth in the artist. As an artist I manipulate paint to illicit the emotions generated by the inspiration that is going on deep inside me. If every piece of art an artist creates looks essentially the same the creator of the art would have to be very one dimensional. Since no person is one dimensional, it can only mean a compromise of personal and artistic integrity. This may not be a philosophy that generates much revenue but I believe that ‘true art’ is created inside the artist and then finds it’s way out and onto the canvas not by a learned technique but by way of ‘INSPIRED’ execution. When you are not working and creating, what do you do? Do you have another job? I’m pretty much always creating. I own a full service commercial sign and graphics studio. Design and creative work is my first duty. When I am not painting or designing I am writing. Lots of poetry, short stories and a couple of book manuscripts on the go. What is your favourite thing to do on a Friday night, or on the weekend? My weeks are really so busy I don’t sit down until Friday night, so by then my brain is more than ready for an escape into a good movie, and a bowl of popcorn. Then after the movie I am ready to paint or write again (usually I do both). What differentiates you from other artists? They’re still sane! Is there anything else you'd like to add? Yes, several hundred thousand dollars to my bank account! (Kidding again) Just a big THANK YOU to anyone who has bought my art, or anyone who has ever just appreciated it!