Meet the Artist: Robert Hudson

  • An interview with the artist Robert Hudson. Robert Hudson grew up in rural Washington State and moved to San Francisco to attend college. Hudson was influenced by the city's ceramic artists, whose brightly colored works combine traditional craft and sculpture. He has said that he loves to be "in a position of being overwhelmed," so he makes objects that blur the lines between sculpture, painting, and drawing. His trompe l'oeil, or "fool the eye," sculptures look like one material but are actually made of another, often confusing our perceptions of two- and three-dimensional objects (Beal, "Welded Irony: The Sculpture of Robert Hudson," in Robert Hudson, A Survey, 1985). 

    ROBERT HUDSON: You know, it's really weird. One of my favorite things is rusty tin cans. Also, I use a lot of antlers, bones, rocks, broken glass. I love putting history into my pieces with old objects. I just love that history is kind of there automatically, or you're aware of it or you're not aware of it, or it matters or it doesn't matter, you know? It's got that Americana thing going on, and, besides, it looks great.

    The studio is full of things that I found in the desert, which is my favorite place to look. Garage sales, antique stores, junkyards. Then I just have this stuff around. It's almost like paint.

    “After Wood” was found scrap steel. The metal had some feeling of wood grain or whatever. Just in painting it popped it out and made it look more like that. Every time it changes, or you look at it from a different perspective, so it's something that you can look at over and over and over again and probably never see it in that same view. I was always working with balance point. I had to keep track of that and then put it together and paint it.

    All the outside surface is just brushed aluminum finish and the inside, where these cubes face each other, I wanted to just have color just to emphasize that space between all those pieces. One color will reflect part of it onto another color. So you get these colors that you don't really see any other place, and that painting was almost kind of an abstract landscape feeling to it. To get started on a new piece, there's a lot of bounce from what I just finished before that. It sets a momentum up, and I just go from there.
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