Meet the artist: Robin Schwartzman

By: Made Here

Tell us about your background.
I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania and every summer my family would on vacation to the Jersey Shore. The boardwalk piers, miniature golf courses and the kitschy doo -wop style motels always fascinated me. When I was in high school, my summer job was drawing caricatures at a local amusement park. Over the last 12 years, I’ve continued drawing caricatures at various theme parks, carnivals and fairs around the country. In 2004, I went to Syracuse University for my B.F.A. and moved to Minneapolis in 2008 to complete me M.F.A. at the University of Minnesota.

Artistically, who or what inspires you and why?
Themed environments and immersive experiences including amusement parks, playgrounds, shopping malls, hotels, casinos and mini golf have always been a source of inspiration for me. I am also strongly influenced by a number of contemporary artists whose work addresses humor and play through sculpture, installations and interactivity including FriendsWithYou, Benedetto Bufalino, Misaki Kawai, Matthew Barton, Carsten Holler, Andrea Loefke and Maruizio Cattelan.

Who is your favorite artist and why?
It’s hard to pick a favorite. There are so many artists out there doing amazing work and pushing the boundaries, both technically and conceptually. The internet makes them so easy to find.

What are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to achieve with your work?
Much of my current work explores the delight that can come from the artificiality of theming. I often reference the memorable aesthetics of bygone eras through stylized fonts, recognizable shapes and specialized color palettes. Many of the textures and surfaces within my work are fabricated replicas made to look like an original, but are merely clever facades. Through this work, I seek to address issues of collective and personal memory, nostalgia, pleasure, authenticity and mass appeal. In future works, I am working towards addressing deeper issues of contradiction and bringing the viewer behind the fun, idealized façades. This interest is directly linked to becoming more critical of the themed leisure space as it rapidly grows and its motives shift from joyful escapism to willful ignorance.

Where else can people find your work at? 
Right now I’ve got a gumball machine themed mini golf hole over at the Walker Art Center’s Artist-Designed Mini Golf course. I’ve also got a show coming up with four others for the Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists, which will be up at the MCAD Main Gallery this October.


Urban Walking Gallery

Made Here, a project of Hennepin Theatre Trust, is a walkable urban art experience that connects people to local art and artists in the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District.

Energy: Made Here Launch Event

Launching December 19th, Energy: Made Here features the work of over 30 Minnesota artists.