I established Studio Roy Robinson in 1996 to pursue a wide range of design and artistic projects, often in collaboration with museums and diverse creative teams. Previously, I had studied Industrial Design at the University of Cincinnati (1981-83) before earning a BS in Architecture from the University of illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1986) and my Master of Architecture from MIT (1991). Between 1987 and 1994, I worked for the influential design firm of George Sexton Associates in Washington DC, an office which specialized in Lighting Design and Museum Environments. My work with George Sexton, combined with my earlier studies with Professor Henry Plummer at the University of Illinois, fostered an appreciation for the nature of light and other spatial qualities that shape the human experience. Later, as Director of Exhibits and Design for the Chicago Academy of Sciences, I also became interested in the interconnections of science with art and design. In a career spanning four decades, I’ve had many memorable experiences working with the Eames Office, the Rookwood Pottery, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in the UK, the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Longwood Gardens, to name just a few.
The work presented here may seem like a departure from the design work I’ve spent my career creating. But drawing has always been central to all of my creative work. Furthermore, these drawings are a product of my love and passion for art, design, and the history and culture of art and design. This is my architecture now. I hope they speak respectfully to the many people and experiences that have shaped, transformed or otherwise impacted my vision.
Why I Draw
"Each day of my life has been dedicated in part to drawing. I have never stopped drawing and painting, seeking, where I could find them, the secrets of form."
The act of drawing has been integral to my creative process from childhood. And I’ve recently come to accept that it is the act of drawing itself that I find most creatively satisfying. Ideas become most real to me in the form of drawings, even when the drawing is, for instance, a simple rough sketch or a means of communication for production. That drawing contains the essence of the idea. Most people would argue that the things that are produced or built from the drawing are more “real” - but these things are often disappointing to me in a way that the drawing usually is not. The drawing is the pure idea made visible to the viewer, while still allowing the imagination to wander. So it is no wonder that I find the making of these art drawings so rewarding. Here, the drawing is the final product, containing everything the viewer needs to understand the idea in its most intentional form.
The LOST AND FOUND Series
“We are processes, events, composite and limited in space and time.”
— Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time
The pieces in the Lost and Found series have their origins in the Fall of 2016. Seeking a way of looking forward in a world of personal and global disruptions, I turned to books on existential and taoist philosophy - and quantum physics. I reconnected with a youthful passion for modernist art. I also began sketching little thumbnail drawings in a black sketchbook. And that’s when I realized that sometimes the path forward leads you back to where you started. Loop Theory, maybe?
Finished pieces began to emerge at the beginning of 2018: meditations on life, death, beauty, urgency, patience, ambiguity, continuity - and, most hopefully, transcendence.
You can view these pieces on the DRAWN Gallery Page.