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Robert’s Love Affair with Art

Robert Hubbard is a Kansas artist who has been selling work for 57 years. He sold his first work of art in 1967. He’s been making art even longer. He has paintings in 9 countries and 48 states. 

Robert was led to art at a very young age. After severely burning his hands on a kitchen stove as a child, leading to multiple skin graft surgeries, his hands would shake when he tried to write. He was in first grade when his doctor recommended putting him in local drawing lessons to gain control over his hands. It was a small jump from drawing to forming letters, and from then on, Robert was an artist. 

Robert spent his life teaching art. This year begins his 50th year of teaching. He currently offers classes in a variety of media and styles at the Manhattan Art Center, but before this he taught high school art for years at a few schools around the state. He kept a good practice of making work while teaching, which isn’t easy to do. But Robert says he couldn’t stop making work. He loves teaching and making art. A lot of times, when teaching his advanced classes, he would paint right along with his students. 

“When it came to critique day, I’d put my painting up with theirs. They loved picking apart my art,” Robert says about those days. Which is still true today. If you take a class with him, you get to see what he’s working on, as well. 

Robert was inspired by his students, and them by him. He would see a student try something in class and stay behind after the school day to try it on his own canvas. He delighted in finding new ways to manipulate paint and came up with new ideas over the summer to have something new for his students to try.

When asked if he has a signature style, he said no. Robert loves to experiment and try new things. He does often work in a series of paintings to really give a style a chance to develop. Sometimes a few paintings show him quickly that he doesn’t like the style, but other times he creates fifteen pieces or more in a series. He paints in 2D and 3D, everything from realistic to abstract to design. 

Robert believes art is exploration. He says he likes everyone’s art. He likes Van Gogh and Monet. But it’s the work of Robert Motherwell that really calls to him. “I would say the person who really brings me to tears walking into a room of his art is Robert Motherwell. You have to experience it. You can’t just see one piece. You need to see a whole room of his work.”

Currently Robert is having fun playing with distance in his realistic paintings and creating and working with colors he’s never painted with before. 

Robert does not have an online presence for his art. He teaches classes at the MAC and resides in Manhattan. His show will be up throughout February and March with an opening reception February 9 at 5:00pm at Flight Crew Coffee. 


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