Artist Spotlight- Robert Stivers
Sep 10, 2018
Hi Friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week! I really am excited to introduce you to an amazing artist who I had the pleasure to meet while visiting my Dad in Sante Fe. Robert Stivers, an American fine-art photographer happens to be friends with my Dad’s good friend, Natalie. Knowing how I love all forms of art, they arranged a private showing for me at his home/studio before we all went to dinner.
I wasn’t familiar with his work and wanted to look him up before the meet and greet so……. I went to my friend google!!
Well, come to find out, in addition to his own Wikipedia page, his works are collected by museums such as the Bibliothèque nationale (Paris), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), to name a few.
I became a bit intimidated!
The above, Hands is one of Roberts most relished works of art. The butterflies have become a symbol of this piece, a transition of sorts from innocence to womanhood. In an article by Michael Abatemarco in Pasatiempo Robert was quoted -“I discover more about my work when I hear other people’s responses, and maybe I discover more about the person, and maybe I discover a lot about me.” I love this comment, it shows he is a listener, he is open minded, and he is grounded. I found all to be true!!
Robert, from a family with highly successful careers, dropped out of a masters program in the Science of Administration, when he discovered a passion to dance. He moved to New York, and shortly after was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet. Unfortunately his career in dance ended after a back injury. He still has a passion for dance and has beautifully photographed the gracefulness of the dancer.
Maybe his aptitude for science, mixed with a true calling and passion for the arts, has gifted him with the ability to combine chemicals with the art of photography!
Roberts art is not just in photographing the image. It is with his artistic manipulation of the image afterwards. In speaking to him, I was reminded me of my experimentation with paint, seeing all the combinations layered has been magical for me! He uses bleach and many other techniques to transform his work.
I loved this description of his process that was on an invite from a show he did in Venice- “For Many of his works, Stivers begins with a sharply focused negative that is then manipulated in the printing process causing intentional loss of clarity to achieve, sensual, dream-like images.”
And this image has been in by dreams for a while. Loving it so much I contemplated using it for my new paint line. Unfortunately, They had already put our existing labels into production. I adore the contemporary feel of such antique elements!
Here is a snap shot I took at his studio of the same version in pink! The richness and the vibrancy of color are enchanting! This pieces can be toned to most colors and printed in any size to be used as an over scaled impact piece or as a collection of vibrant tones hung together!!
Here is another manipulation of the traditional dark room process! One’s mind begins to wonder-is it a painting, or a photograph. Either way, it catches the soul of the person and is both mysterious and thought provoking!
His new series which will be the focus of his sixth photography book, uses animals as his subject and vibrancy of color to create shadowy, powerful imagery. They ask us to love the beasts inside ourselves, not only the ones that exist happily, but those in torment, waiting for the right moment to escape, to reveal themselves and allow us to confront the fullness of our personalities. –Eugenia Parry
“Robert is like an alchemist,” Greenberg-Wyman explains. “He uses lens based photography and handles materials flipping things back and forth – sometimes overexposing, sometimes underexposing depending upon what’s going on with him. Then he might re-shoot a print he’s already made and manipulate it further in the darkroom by enriching the tone of the gelatin silver print with more selenium or another kind of polytoner. That’s how he performs, like in a lab.”
Robert dreams into things. It isn’t beyond him to use any object at all to obtain the animals he’s looking for. Out of focus models of taxidermy in the Museum of Natural History in New York, led to the bear, buffalo, gorilla, and the cluster of gazelles. Softening and simplifying by backlighting some of the beasts, he eliminated the obvious identifiers, like fur or feathers. It left him with essential, defining contours that say “gorilla” or “bear.” The strategy changed the beast from “other” into something more like an idea that’s strangely familiar.-Eugenia Parry
Although Robert does name his artwork, most he keeps simple like the above “Red Shoes”. He loves hearing what others are inspired to name the piece. It enables him to learn more about the person, and then intern learn even more about himself! It is hard to believe that the above is photography with it’s dream like quality! What would you name this piece?
I loved my visit with Robert and our continued friendship!! Thank you Robert for sharing yourself and some of your work with us- for an artist that is one in the same! I appreciated your creativity, your humble nature, your desire to always reinvent yourself and your true passion to create! You have inspired me more than you know!! For more information on Robert’s art you can follow his Instagram robert.stivers. or visit his website .
Thanks to all who have already voted. I think we just have a week to vote for Segreto Secrets for Best Company Blog so I would so appreciate your vote and spreading the word! I hope you all enjoy your week! xo Leslie