The Fantastic Realism art of Robert Venosa has been exhibited worldwideand is represented in major collections, including those of noted museums,rock stars and European aristocracy. In addition to painting, sculptingand film design (pre-sketches and conceptual design for the movie Dune,and Fire in the Sky for Paramount Pictures, and the upcoming Race for Atlantisfor IMAX), he has recently added computer art to his creative menu. Hiswork has been the subject of three books, as well as being featured in numerouspublications - most notably OMNI magazine - and on a number of CD covers,including those of Santana and Kitaro.
New York City born, Venosa was transported into the world of fine art in the late 60's after having experimented with psychedelics and having seen the work of the Fantastic Realists - Ernst Fuchs and Mati Klarwein in particular - both of whom he eventually met and studied under. Of his apprenticeship with Klarwein, Venosa says, "What a time (Autumn, 1970) that turned out to be! Not only did I get started in proper technique, but at various times I had Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Jackie Kennedy and the good doctor Tim Leary himself peering over my shoulder to see what I was up to.
Venosa moved to Europe in the early 70's settling in the celebrated Mediterranean village of Cadaques in Spain, where he enjoyed the honorable and mighty pleasure of getting to know and hang with neighbor Salvador Dali, as well as the numerous notables in the world of art and literature who gravitated to that magic locale. Much of Venosa's work and attendant exploits have been published in his book, Noospheres (Pomegranate Artbooks). In it Venosa talks of the attitudinal complications of his returning to the U.S. after years of living in Europe: "In 1982 - due to a number of commissions,commercial allurements and a burgeoning recognition of my work afforded through extensive exposure in OMNI magazine and on record album covers - he started traveling to the U.S., dividing his time there between New York and Boulder, Colorado.
That loft was the energy center in New York, and I reveled in it. And somehow,miraculously, in the midst of all the nonstop pandemonium taking place everyday I learned to lay the paint down properly. Even though it was ever put to the test , discipline was one of the more important necessities that Mati emphasized and - through his own adherence - strongly impressed on me: I could only join in the festivities after my work was done and all brushes were washed. Mati taught well the techniques of painting and, even more relevant, of quality living. I'm honored to have been one of the fortunate few to have studied with him."
Enjoying the clear, clean mountain air and relatively sane consciousness of its populace, I settled on Boulder as my base in the States. Compared to the raucous, colorful activity of Cadaques, Boulder appeared somewhat anorexic. But the siren of success,along with the Muse of Mammon, wailed a seductive tune, irresistible in its promise but demanding in the changes deemed necessary if I were to singalong: The Merry Mediterranean mirage would have to give way to the Aggressive American Kindergarten for a season or two. There would be exhibits to arrange,press releases to disseminate, collectors to romance, critics to confuse and an entirely new sense of art to cultivate. My idea of art, as previously understood, would require major surgery if I were to immerse myself in the American standards and expectations of what that word represented.
The admiration and aristocratic respect given the artist in Europe is stripped clean upon arrival in the U.S. as these architects of culture are transmogrified into novelty items and entertaining curiosities. The centuries-old tradition of dedication and perfection while working in the solitude of a tranquil studio at the limited speed allowed by brush and paint is left at the gates of the rapid-fire, nonstop, instant-sensual-gratification American sitcom culture. Trying to compete in the fast lane of the high-velocity illusions and banal delusions of movies and TV poses a problem for the painter and his two-dimensional immobile images. Nevertheless, the challenge, then as now, of affecting the consciousness with more eternal value cannot be denied,and so, combining the historical deep roots of European culture with the dynamic of America's youthful energy, an attempt is constantly made".
Until his transition on August 9, 2011, Venosa maintains studios in both Boulder, Colorado, and Cadaques. He also devoted a few weeks each year giving workshops at such institutes as Naropa in Boulder, Skyros Institute on the island of Skyros in Greece, and Esalen at Big Sur, California together with his wife Martina Hoffmann.