Rob Rey

  1. general
  2. bio
  3. work process

Rob strives to paint new myths. Through its countless mythological traditions, humanity has proven to have a deep-seated need for awe-inspiring stories and the experience of wonder. With a powerful resonance, these stories provide a framework for understanding where we fit in our communities, and in our cosmos. They can also give a us a feeling of shared connection and participation with the rest of humanity, helping us to show our more caring and compassionate side. Unfortunately, the most popular stories being passed on today come from traditions developed in very different times. These antiquated stories inevitably come prepackaged with inseparable cultural baggage and outdated ideas that are, sadly, ill-suited for the equality, understanding, and change that our modern culture so desperately needs. What are the resonant, positive, and appropriate awe-inspiring stories of today? How can our expanding scientific knowledge drive our enchantment with the natural world and grow our empathic interests toward our fellow humans? Exploring these questions visually, Rob hopes to promote or create the stories that best help us to achieve these goals.

Originally from a suburb north of Chicago, Rob hiked across New England on the Appalachian Trail before going on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating there with a BFA in Illustration. Rob now resides in Denver, Colorado.

While his foremost passion is for learning of any kind, Rob’s interests are frequently peaked by both natural sciences like astronomy and physics as well as social sciences like psychology and sociology. These interests commonly influence his work, as do a multitude of inspiring artists from classical art to golden age illustration and contemporary representational art. Through his love affair with the medium of oil paint, he strives to make pictures that are not only beautiful but thought provoking as well. Careful attention to edges and working “wet into wet” are important to getting the look Rob loves most, but above all, he feels that a successful painting must convey emotion in order to connect with the viewer in a lasting way.

Client List

Penguin Books
Wizards of the Coast
Boston Lyric Opera
Metaphoric Pictures
Square Enix
Fantasy Flight Games
Asset International Inc.
Texas Monthly
Princeton Alumni Weekly
Boy’s Life Magazine
New York Observer

My process begins with the generation of ideas and a search for the most appropriate mood to be communicated by the image. These are quickly jotted down in rough thumbnail sketches and notes. Once a few of these are showing promise I will use them to work up a larger sketch or a few sketches, depending on the needs of the job. For clarity, I will often digitally add a few large gray tones to separate the major shapes of the composition and lay out the basic value structure. Before any painting begins I will gather reference material to help bring the drawing to life, guiding my use of light to round out the illusion of three-dimensional form in my picture. I will usually also complete a rough digital color study to ensure a harmonious interplay of hue and chroma. With these materials complete, I will transfer my drawing to the board and I’m ready to begin painting.

My painting process is quite direct, often finishing each section before moving on to an adjacent one. I begin with the background and move forward allowing the strokes of each successive area to overlap the last. Having the background resolved when I reach the focal points of the image allows me to see how they relate to the rest of the picture and immediately make any necessary adjustments to get these important areas just right.

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