Rob Stanley and his creative migraines

We found a new way to sort out submissions – asking artists “outrageous” questions. Those who answer, get featured, those who don’t…

Alexandra Crisbășan: Have you suffered any traumatic events which made you create the way you do? If so, give an example. If not, tell me where does this insanity come from?

Rob Stanley: Almost all of my work is born from anxiety and depression. The anxiety is usually a symptom which leads up to a period of a migraine headaches. During this phase my senses are magnified and I am extremely sensitive to almost everything that happens around me. I have visions of horror and surreal worlds, as well as being able to see emotions. I have trained myself to try and create art during this period. When I do, whilst in the headache phase, I can’t stand the work I produce. I loath it and have in the past deleted or destroyed paintings because of my irrational hate of it. Once the headache has passed I feel normal again and usually my perception of my paintings changes from loathing to amazement – to falling in love with what I did. The human brain is a bizarre thing!

(c) Rob Stanley
(c) Rob Stanley

Yes, indeed the human brain/mind is very bizarre and has inexplicable ways to make us do things alike in this case. However, odd or not, Rob’s characters are: believable, grotesque, personal and very well set within their world. When I look at his paintings, I do feel like I’m inside a horror movie, a nightmare, or a grotesque video game. I think that his mostly uncertain landscapes shape very well a world which seems more real than a lot of “pretentious” art, because it’s that district in our head and heart, or that town, that land, continent, country or simply space which we all have. Which is different at the surface, but which has the same roots: negative emotions, traumas, the brain’s odd ways of functioning and many more.

(c) Rob Stanley
(c) Rob Stanley

Stanley doesn’t only bring his emotional demons to us. He doesn’t just grab one by the hand, put him in a painting and then exposes it to the public. He introduces us within the habitat of his characters, by opening a door which says: this how my mind looks like, these are the skeletons in my closet, my weaknesses and my creative strength. This is the other nature I live in.

I really do think people live simultaneously in two places, in their head and on earth. Living on earth is dependent of living in your head (because of perception) and vice versa (because we wouldn’t exist without nature). Maybe because we’re neglecting our own personal nature, we got to destroy our outer nature so much.

(c) Rob Stanley
(c) Rob Stanley

Stanley is a musician and a visual effects and concept artist for horror films. His paintings are done both by hand and digital “ but I don’t fall into the trap of letting the computer do the work for me“. He views “pretentious art” as insincere and deceitful and he looks to bring out the subjective and honest reflection of the world he lives in. One which he shares with the artists he is inspired by: Beksinski, Giger, Dali, Goya, Frank Frazetta and many others.

(c) Rob Stanley
(c) Rob Stanley

As far as I could grasp of him, he seems a very open, calm and sociable guy. You couldn’t tell he brings out of himself such personifications of human emotions while living in Australia, with: “my best friend and partner Karen, and our beloved greyhound Truman“. This contrast between who he is everyday and who he is when he creates made me appreciate his work even more, because it shows equilibrium.

(c) Rob Stanley
(c) Rob Stanley

If you find a way to make your demons stop devouring your angels, you will find yourself living in a very beautiful outer world, which will calm at least sometimes, the beasts inside. Maybe that’s the place we’re searching for, but it’s easier to bury things and never assume yourself and your actions. Especially when the damage is at a global scale.

(c) Rob Stanley
(c) Rob Stanley

Needless to say, these paintings raise, above negative emotions, surreal worlds and macabre sights some awareness, a red flag to each of us.

You can find Rob Stanley on his website

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Bucharest-based artist. Psychedelic photographer, brain-scratching writer / poetess and priestess of the macabre.

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