I build, paint and draw to bring something into the world that never existed before. I love to tell a story. I tell myself a lot of them while I’m working on a piece. Who lives in the houses I’m drawing? How was this object I’m painting used? Why did this particular series of images work their way to the top? If there’s a narrative in my work, 90 percent must come from the stories that are generated while rendering.
“How did he do that?” is my favorite response to my art. Anything can go into a drawing or painting or sculpture. I choose materials based on what’s at hand and what looks like fun. I have a drawing that ended up with broken coffee stirrers glued all over it; an oil painting with tissue paper buried in the gesso. I begin a piece by doodling. I rebuild it and tear it down in my head again and again, before and during the process. But, ultimately, my art takes its own course. That’s the fun of mixed media. I can be halfway into a piece and suddenly see something new emerge. It’s like finding something unexpected in a reverse archeological dig. I know a piece is complete only when someone else owns it. If it’s in my custody, I’m probably going to work on it again.
I started painting t-shirts with bleach about a year ago. I began adding dyes and playing with new materials. When I discovered how denim responds to the bleach, I knew I had found my new canvas and ordered a roll of black denim from a fabric mill. At the same time I have been learning to sew. At first this was just so I could add stitching and fabric to shirts. Shirts gave way to a quilt. It took about 60 seconds with a sewing machine for me to realize that I now have a sculpture factory at my fingertips.
Rob Rough’s work is now in over thirty private collections in the United States.
BA in Fine Art
California State University, Sacramento, California, 2006-2007
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, 1984 – 1989
SELECTED WORK HISTORY
University of Texas at Austin, 2007 – present
Project Manager, Strategic Design Management Dept. in the Office of Public Affairs
Crocker/Flanagan (Graphic Design and PR Agency), 2004-2006
Creative Department Manger
Crocker Art Museum, 2000 – 2003
The Sacramento Bee, 1994 – 1998
Community Relations Coordinator
San Jose Museum of Art
Membership Manager and PR Assistant, 1989 – 1992
San Jose, California