San Francisco artist Heather Robinson loves pattern and color, reflected in her colorful, bright and joyful abstract mixed media paintings. Visit her website to see more of her work.
I’m compelled to create art that reflects the beauty of accidents. My abstract paintings are inspired by the very human desire to decorate our own living spaces, and how those choices reflect our love, our fears, and our hopes.
I use bright, lively colors interacting with pattern and texture in different ways to both embody and reflect those elements of our human experience.
After leaving the MIT Graduate School of Architecture, I worked as a web designer for several years. My desire to create, however, drew me to strike out as an artist full-time in 2001. At the time, my primary medium was collage—I loved the process of taking disparate elements and combining them into a cohesive piece of art.
While I was in graduate school, there was a definite prejudice against “non-functional” ornament in design and art. Though many years have passed, my work continues to feel, in part, like a reaction to that movement. Rebelling against minimalism drives me to add adornment in service of the goals of beauty and joy.
Among my inspirations is the Pattern & Decoration movement of the seventies. I blend repeated ornate textile patterns using my own geometric stencils, adding spontaneous, intuitive drips and splashes to highlight both symmetry and imperfections. To me, it speaks to folly of the focus on perfection in our world.
My abstract paintings begin with a patterned fabric attached to a panel. I’m drawn to fabric patterns that idealize nature, such as traditional floral and botanical prints. These prints often form a “jumping-off point” for my paintings; an initial inspiration that I quickly obscure with coats of paint and medium.
Technically “mixed media,” my art combines paint, acrylic medium, stencils, drips and washes. I use many layers of each to create a feeling of depth in each of my pieces.
Though my background is in collage, I’ve found inspiration in the process of painting for the last eight years.
Since 2007, my small studio has been located within the Secession Art & Design Gallery in the Mission Bernal neighborhood of San Francisco. It constrains the size of my art, but forces me to create a depth of color and visual impact even within a small piece. Lately, I have been experimenting with triptychs and multi-panel pieces that translate well in larger spaces.
I’m intrigued by the personal nature of interior design, and my many clients often collaborate with me to create pieces that draw upon their own aspirations, imbuing their homes and workplaces with hope and joy. For my own part, I love fiber arts, travel and learning foreign languages. Proficient in French and Italian, I’m focusing on German and Polish now.