Introduction & Interview by Mike Simpson
I have corresponded with artist Rob Croxford via email during these early days of the pandemic and really wish I could have visited his east end Toronto studio (as we planned in mid March). But now I look forward to meeting Rob in person. I downloaded 40+ images on Instagram and many from online to put together this interview. It’s an amazing portfolio so rich with beautiful iconic paintings of various characters, motel signs, streetcars and images that evoke classic objects and eras.
For this profile we chose transit & city landmarks, from the CLRV streetcars and raccoon driver, to Honest Ed’s, and Yonge Street/Sam the Record Man.
I am appreciative that Rob took the time to do this interview and let us post some of his images on this blog and on our Tdot Blog Instagram!
Hope you enjoy this first interview with a painter on our new blog! It’s the first and it’s a dandy – Rob has so much passion and insight to share!
5 Questions Interview
1. Who are you?
Hi! I’m Rob Croxford, professional full-time artist and part-time smarty pants. About me? Well, I’ve been living in Toronto for over 2 decades with my long suffering husband. In 2018, a fire ripped through Walnut Studios destroying pretty much everything. That fire was a defining moment in my life! I have spent the last 2 years rebuilding my career, locating/restocking a studio, creating new art, and finding new opportunities! It has been a wild ride, (and clearly the wild ride isn’t over) but I am excited about the great things that come next!
2. How did you get started in painting / art?
My painting career started in the 90’s with scenic painting for stage and film, which morphed into murals, then into fine art. I have been painting my own artwork full-time for 16 years now! In that time, my series of paintings has changed numerous times, but has always remained consistent to my whimsically retro aesthetic.
3. What are your usual themes and how did you develop an interest in them?
I have painted Toronto a bunch over the years – my “Poster” series is dedicated to the many lovely neighbourhoods of the city I love. All of my work is vintage inspired, with elements of humour and pop-culture! I‘m also a bit obsessed with fonts and text! Take all these elements – ‘smoosh’ (professional art term) them together and THAT is what makes my art ‘special’. My newest “Sign Language” collection combines neon sign imagery with movie quotes….and is FANTASTIC (if I do say so myself)!
4. Where do you paint and what is your routine like? What kind of medium do you prefer? What are your usual tools?
Normally, I work in my east–end studio 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. I paint on canvas and wood with acrylic paint (and my blood, sweat and tears 🙂
5. What tips could you give young artists about technique and process?
Best tip for a young artist from an OLD artist (ouch!): Paint what you feel in your heart/head….and then DO. THE. FREAKING. WORK. I have painted almost 1700 paintings, (some great…some ‘meh’) and that process has refined my artistic voice, and honed my skills. THIS process is what creates longevity in the arts (well, THAT + commitment + vodka). I now have a very clear definition of my ‘brand’ which is very HONEST and distinct to me. It’s not always an easy way to make a living, but it is super rewarding, and I am deeply grateful that my hard work pays off (most of the time) and that people like my art (most of the time;-)!
My work is available on my website – through my galleries – and at a few local Toronto retailers! Check it out!
Awesome! Thanks for taking the time Rob! We appreciate your contribution to the Tdot Blog interview series! Don’t forget to check out Rob Croxford on Instagram