Art Zealous: Tell us about your first exposure to the arts
Jamel Robinson: As a young adult I spent a lot of years going to art openings with my friends because there was free booze, so I was always around art but I never really saw it. It wasn’t until what’s been a little over five years since I stopped drinking, that I began to “see” what I had been missing all those years. What officially got me into making art was being asked to paint a poem on a canvas to be a part of a group exhibition back in November of 2011. I did that and then a month later, after getting word that someone close to me had passed away, I went back to the art supply store I had gone to for supplies, came home and began a journey that I’ve been on every day since.
AZ: How would you describe your work?
JR: I used to jokingly say that “I made the kind of artwork you have to see and not the type you can simply describe” but as I write this, looking around my studio, a two plus years into what is now an incredible art career, I’d have to say that my work would best be described as this intense language of the heart. Every painting, every napkin or paper drawing, every canvas sculpture, every chair and snowboard I paint and draw on or whatever happens to be in my path when I’m ready to create is an expression of what I’m feeling inside and getting those feelings out is the way that I speak my inner most truth.
AZ: Who has influenced you the most?
JR: I’m going to jump out on a limb here and say that I’m my own greatest influence. I have to be. I’m a poet turned self-taught painter. No one ever said when I started, “paint this way” or “study that guy,” so I haven’t had to grow up looking at what the greats or my peers were doing as a basis for what I wanted to do. I knew that I was becoming a better painter when I looked at the progression of the first works I ever made to whatever was current at the time. They looked better, they were stronger and my “language” had grown.
AZ: Project your most proud of?
JR: “The little guy.” The person that doesn’t have art collectors, successful exhibitions under their belt, a following – and still creates on a daily basis. The artist that no one knows and that no one may ever know, who’s drawing and painting and sculpting and expressing themselves every day because they love it. Everyone else I could take the time to mention doesn’t need it. It’s the voiceless souls still searching for their in her voice, without applause, that I admire. I see you and I thank you.
AZ: What’s next for you?
JR: Make new art like I try to do every day. Figure out when and where to exhibit the three complete bodies of work that are sitting in my studio right now. Finish a play that I’ve been working on. You know, knock everything off my “to do” list, one item at a time.
AZ: How can we follow you?