Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bob Conge: 2005 to the present

Good enough is not !

Good enough is not !

2003 was one of those turning points in life. I was freed of the need to produce work for the commercial illustration sector and from this point on I would have the luxury of working only on projects I wish to pursue for myself.  After many years of honing an array skills in painting and drawing media, I was ready to once again push off into the void. Thus my foray into three dimensional expression and lots of new stuff to learn.

Mexican Nichos

Mexican Nichos

Inspired by the 19th century Nichos of New Mexico and the roadside shrines for accident victims I saw while traveling in Greece, I began a series of shrines that explore the themes of contemporary American worship, and those core experiences of life that shape who we have become as human beings.

Boxes for Shrine series.

Boxes for Shrine series.

I hand build the boxes that house my shrines in much the same way the village carpenters built them in Mexico 200 years ago. Each box holds a collection of objects found and life experienced in an arrangement guided by some internal poetry.

"SHRINE No.14 (The Affair)"

“SHRINE No.14 (The Affair)”

Detail "SHRINE No.14"

Detail “SHRINE No.14″

Shrine "Addiction"

Shrine “Addiction”

Shrine "Addiction" detail

Shrine “Addiction” detail

Shrine

Shrine

Shrine "PRIMA VERA" detail

Shrine “PRIMA VERA” detail

Sometime in 2005 I began to also build free standing pieces that were no longer constrained by the box environment. This was the transition to small sculpture working with a 2 part epoxy clay over various armature materials. Molds are made of the original sculpts and then are cast in resin or soft vinyl editions which are hand painted as unique pieces or in small editions of 5 or less.

Brain Rider sketch and sculpt

Brain Rider sketch and sculpt

The pieces usually begin with small rough concept sketches as a jumping off point.

Brain Rider finished

Brain Rider finished

The themes of my work run the gamut from allegorical to sociopolitical.

"War"

“War”

"War" detail

“War” detail

"Sum and Son"

“Sum and Son”

"Night Gamer Misfit Robot"

“Night Gamer Misfit Robot”

"Night Gamer Misfit Robot"

“Night Gamer Misfit Robot”

"Face Of War"

“Face Of War”

In 2014 I began working in bronze and on large scale pieces in fiberglass and epoxy clay.

"Wartorn" bronze

“Wartorn” bronze

"Rasputin" bronze

“Rasputin” bronze

"Greed Shreds The Fabric Of Democracy" WIP

“Greed Shreds The Fabric Of Democracy” WIP

You can view more works at: www.bobconge.com. and www.plaseebo.net

Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Bob Conge’s sculptures in our current exhibition, Small Works 2015. View more of his artwork at www.bobconge.com or www.plaseebo.net.

View Bob’s previous blog post: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Bob Conge: Part One

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bob Conge: mostly before

Bob_Conge_small

I grew up in a rural area of upstate New York that afforded me many years to explore the farms and woodlands surrounding our home and record my findings with pencil and paint. Later moving to the city of Rochester N Y,  I discovered a whole other world of Universities, Museums, galleries, theater, libraries, and the like.

Upon graduating from Syracuse University with an MFA in painting, I taught in the Art schools of S U and RIT for a few years, followed by a freelance illustration career that financed my personal work in painting and printmaking.

Call for entries poster illustration

Call for entries poster illustration

Brighten The Vision Poster

Brighten The Vision Poster

Editorial magazine illustration.

Editorial magazine illustration.

Print Ad illustration in the Wall St. Journal

Print Ad illustration in the Wall St. Journal

Park Avenue Festival Poster

Park Avenue Festival Poster

Promotional Poster for Plaseebo.net

Promotional Poster for Plaseebo.net

Print Ad for NPR

Print Ad for NPR

Product illustration

Product illustration

Over the years I have worked in a wide range of mediums  in both my commercial and personal work. In 2005 I closed my illustration studio in order to devote all my time to personal work. From that point on I have explored various directions in sculpture.

Home

Home

In 1995 my wife Sue and I moved to a rural area in the hills of Springwater N Y.

Main studio.

Main studio.

My main studio is located in a 19th century 2 story carriage house a few yards from the house. I am here 7 days a week often till 5 AM, as I prefer working the quiet hours.

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 1st floor

Main studio 1st floor

I also have a wood shop and spray paint booth in the basement.

WOOD SHOP

In the past year and a half I have also begun working in a larger scale and now have an additional work space in the barn.

Barn sculpture work shop.

Barn sculpture work shop.

Part 2 will cover the period from 2005 to the present.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Bob Conge’s sculptures in our current exhibition, Small Works 2015. View more of his artwork at www.bobconge.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker Robert Hunter.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Robert S. Hunter: Artists Books, Digital Prints, and other Emphera

RSHunter_Book Artist and PrintmakerI’ve been making Art since I was a little boy growing up in New Jersey. My first installation piece was a wall of dinosaur drawings I put up in my bedroom at the age of 7 years old. My interest in Art continued through adolescence resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University with a major in Art and a Master’s degree in Studio Art also from James Madison University. During the first five years after receiving my Master’s degree I was a practicing artist but then as a favor to a friend I agreed to substitute as a high school Art Teacher while my friend recovered from an auto accident. As a substitute teacher I discovered that I enjoyed the energy of the classroom and consequently I returned to James Madison University to complete all the classes necessary to become a certified Secondary Art Educator. My first teaching position was at Colonial Beach High School in Colonial Beach, Virginia and that is where I remained for 32 years. Three years ago I retired from teaching to resume being a full time artist and quickly discovered my home study/studio was too small to accommodate my present needs, so I had a studio built behind my house and that is where I now make all of my artwork.

Studio Image _OPT  Studio  Work-Space


As an artist I believe I should employ the tools and techniques of my chosen medium to convey intention as well as to engage the viewer’s eye. A piece of art should be interesting to look at and should provide something to think about. Both of these purposes are important to me while I am creating an image. As I explore an idea I enjoy combining representational subjects with abstraction to expand the possibilities of visual expression. My prints contain narrative components but also invite comparisons and contrasts of the subject with other abstract elements in the composition. Sometimes these combinations are allegorical and sometimes they are purely visual. I encourage observers to come to their own conclusions and I favor loose associations over structured symbolism.

A Question of Balance              “A Question of Balance”, Archival Pigment Print , 7.5″ x 7.5″

Texture (both visual and conceptual) is important to me as I find variations in each create a more interesting visual and intellectual experience. The digital print processes which I use to create my images provide unique opportunities to manipulate size, texture, color, and transparency that are unavailable in any other print medium. Sometimes I combine traditional and digital printing techniques to produce my work. My images are printed using archival inks on 100% Cotton Rag Somerset Paper and generally are produced in an edition of ten prints.

The Race_Entry Image                        “The Race”, Archival Pigment Print , 6.5″ x 11.5″


Recently I have begun to hand bind my prints to create Artist Books which provide an extended dialogue of content which is not possible in a single print.  Contemporary artists are always employing new forms of media in unexpected ways and the idea of “The Book as Art” is certainly a prime example. The book has been transformed into an aesthetic object to be appreciated for more than its informational or literary content. Some of my books are fairly straight forward narrative structures containing images and a story which I have  created. Others are a combination of a container form and a book form,resulting in a Three Dimensional / Two Dimensional Hybrid.

ENTRY-1_B-EarthWindFire_RSHunterText-EarthWindFire_RSHunter           “Earth, Wind, and Fire”, Sculptural Artist Book , 12.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.5″

In these Sculptural Artist Books multiple aspects of craft, spatial presence, narrative content, and expressive imagery are employed. I’ve found that I enjoy the complexity of these projects and currently I’m working on several ideas which will continue the exploration of this format.

A-Visit-to-Grandmothers-House_RSHunterText-Visit-to-Grandmothers-House_RSHunter   “A Visit to Grandmother’s House”, Sculptural Artist Book , 10″ x 8″ x 8″


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Robert Hunter’s printmaking in our current exhibition, “Small Works 2015 – A National Juried Exhibition” and view more of his artwork at www.roberthunterart.com

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker and encaustic artist Constance Mauro.