The thing about creativity is that you can’t ignore it. Creativity will nag at you until you finally let it work its magic. This was certainly the case for Robin Damore, who for nearly 20 years was dedicated to growing an advertising agency she co-founded. While there are many aspects of advertising that call on one’s creativity, Robin eventually realized she needed to do something completely different.
When Robin had the opportunity to sell her stake in the agency, she knew deep down it was time to embrace risk and pursue her interest in photography, drawing and oil painting. Today, much of her work is focused on oil painting and the quest to capture a person’s individual physical likeness and that extra special something that helps define each subject.
“People often tear up when they see their person captured on canvas and are delighted by the old world realism I apply to modern subjects,” Robin says. “I was once told by a clairvoyant that ‘spirits’ linger in my portraits. I took this as high praise!”
One of the beauties of doing portraits is that a viewer doesn’t necessarily need to know the subject to connect with a painting. Robin prides herself in eliciting emotional responses by working to manifest something true and universal –– whatever her subject may be.
“I am inspired by a collection of master painters. I work to glean how they prioritize color, edges and composition by studying them and viewing their works in museums, galleries and high definition online galleries,” she says. “I am always working to improve how I ‘see.’ My hope is to be stretched and pushed toward better work by the painters whose work inspires me.”
Since taking her first painting class at 45 years old, Robin has indeed evolved as an artist. Even now, with 20 years of painting under her belt, she’s experienced a significant transformation in her technique over the last three years.
“I am seeing more subtlety and have more control over which edges I emphasize and how I use color more strategically,” she says. “My composition is stronger and more thoroughly considered. I teach portraiture and that has made me a better painter and more organized in my thinking.”
Robin says being an instructor has taught her to get energy from painting with people around her, which is ideal for the working studios of the Celebration of Fine Art.
“I look forward to interacting with visitors, answering their questions and maybe pushing a few to discover their own creativity,” Robin says. “I believe there is a hidden talent in each of us –– it’s about finding the courage to begin. I hope to encourage a few souls to get onto their own unique creative path.”
Artist Quick Takes:
Favorite artist? I can’t pick just one. My Russian painting teacher, Professor Leonid Gervits of The Art Students League of New York, is the toughest and best teacher ever. David Kassan’s incredible 2019 show “Facing Survival” is a collection of portraits of living holocaust survivors at USC’s Fischer Museum of Art. Richard Schmid does landscapes like no other. And Jeremy Lipking taught me how to use cadmium orange and viridian to make the perfect warm skin shadow.
Music/musician that inspires you? I always have music on because it lifts my spirits. I sing when I paint to get happy. I’m currently listening to Michael Kiwanuka, Dermot Kennedy and Maitre Gims. Some oldies I listen to include Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Dave Matthews Band and Counting Crows.
Favorite place to travel? Italy! I love Positano, Siena, Orvieto, Florence, Pacentro, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. Give me a sketchbook and some time on my own with my husband where I can resurrect a little Italian and share a loaf of crusty bread and I am good.
Favorite quote? “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” L.R. Knost
If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? I used to be an owner of an ad agency with 150 employees and three partners. I’d probably still be sitting in meetings –– richer –– but a lot less in love with my life and less fulfilled by my life’s work.
What’s one thing you’d like people to take away from your art? I’d like for people to understand the passion I hold for the beauty that exists in each of us.