14 questions for local artist Bob Winberry

Bob Winberry
Bob Winberry
Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

In 100 words or less, what do you do as an artist?
I combine camera with computer to create images that border between photography and illustration. As I shoot digital, I tweak every photo out of the camera first to create the look I like, then I move on to illustrate the image.

What motivates you to create art?
My first motivation is to capture a view of the world as I see it. My second motivation is to find a place for that image in the world.

How has your practice changed over time?
In the ’70s, I worked with chalk, mono-prints, and pen and ink. In the ’80s, I moved to silk-screens and airbrush as well as programming for digital content. In the ’90s, I hand-tinted my black-and-white prints and wrote a computer program to create and print images on a Fargo Dye-Sub printer. I then spent a number of years in web content with interactive Flash animations and now focus my efforts on inkjet prints and graphic novels.

Do you ever get artist’s block? If so, how do you combat it?
Yes, I do, and when that happens, I do my best to make contact with my imagination again. If I can’t write, I draw. Can’t draw? I play music. No music? I program. Round and round until I’ve worked through the block.

Old Car on the Way to the Queen Mary, ink-jet print of a tweaked and enhanced digital photo
Old Car on the Way to the Queen Mary, ink-jet print of a tweaked and enhanced digital photo

What do you think your life would be like if, for some reason, you could no longer create art?
I would like to think that I would find appreciation in the work of others.

What role does the artist have in society?

I once thought art shaped the world into ever newer and exciting possibilities. Then I learned that art had to be sold, and that changed my view on art and artists. So, I guess the role being played depends on what the individual sees as art and who they view as an artist.

How do you feel when people ask you to explain the meaning of your art?
If they are looking for meaning in my art, I often try to explain [the 1977 film] Eraserhead by David Lynch and say, “When I saw Eraserhead, I saw another side to the world and that that world is right around the corner even if we refuse to turn that corner.”

Have you ever been banned or censored to any degree as an artist? If so, how did you react? If not, how do you think you would react in that situation?
Last year I joined a local artist group. We arranged to have our art shown at a café in the area. The night of the show, the owner of the café found my work offensive and took it off the wall. I found it ironic that my work was “off the wall!” Here are the two prints that were deemed offensive:

Poster for Peter Measure, ink-jet print of random pages taken from the graphic novel Peter Measure by Bob Winberry
Poster for Peter Measure, ink-jet print of random pages taken from the graphic novel Peter Measure by Bob Winberry
“HELP,” ink-jet print of digitally hand-colored black-and-white photo used as the cover for the graphic novel get HELP by Bob Winberry

Does your artistic life ever get lonely? If so, what do you do to counteract it?
When I’m out and about, I feel I am NOT where I should be, which is in the studio. So I tend to stay put, and that can get lonely. To counteract that, I’ll sometimes invite friends to the studio to brainstorm, talk art and hang out.

What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I want to show that we all have worlds of imagination that once tapped into, can be explored, enjoyed and shared.

What are one or two primary areas of fear for you as an artist?
Discovering that what I have to say has already been said, only better, and that the world I have been so busy trying to discover wasn’t worth discovering.

What are one or two factors that, when they’re in place, enable you to really flourish artistically?
A happy heart and a full mind. Distractions tend to negatively impact my ability to stay creative, therefore I try to keep my “real” life running as smoothly as possible, when possible.

What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
I’ve freelanced my entire life, and art has always crept into my jobs: from restoring Victorians in San Francisco to working as a creative director here in southern California and freelancing photography, illustrations, posters, prints, books and interactive animated web content.

What’s your favorite color?
See if you can determine my favorite color by viewing my work at these sites: winberry.com, missfittz.com, bobwinberry.com .

Winberry will be one of the artists participating in the Long Beach Open Studio Tour on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13. For more information, visit lbopenstudiotour.com . To see more of Winberry’s work, visit bobwinberry.tumblr.com .


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