The Fantastic Realism art of Robert Venosa has been exhibited worldwide and is represented in major collections, including those of noted museums, rock stars and European aristocracy.
In addition to painting, sculpting and film design (pre-sketches and conceptual design for the movie Dune, and Fire in the Sky for Paramount Pictures, and the upcoming Race for Atlantis for IMAX), he has recently added computer art to his creative menu.
His work has been the subject of three books, as well as being featured in numerous publications
- most notably OMNI magazine - and on a number of CD covers,including those of Santana and Kitaro.
For a quick glimpse of his artistic life and creative inspiration
please watch the movie trailer for his biographical video.
In 1964, while living in Manhattan, he became an art director for Columbia Records - CBS - and directed one of the first music videos ever made for
'The Temptations' - “Runaway Child, Running Wild".
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.
Michael Fuchs, Ernst Fuchs, Venosa, Vienna, 1969.
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.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 never 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."
Venosa, Mati and Eleonore Klarwein
Babette, Venosa, Cathy Ainsworth, Mati Klarwein, New York, 1970
Robert 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.
Bob Venosa traveling through Europe in his Dodge van in the early 70's, discovering the village of Cadaques, his future home of 17 years.
Venosa in his first home and studio in Cadaques, early 1970s
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 - I started traveling to the U.S., dividing my time there between New York and Boulder, Colorado."
Venosa painting 'The Rainforest'
"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, colourful activity of Cadaques, Boulder appeared somewhat anorexic. But the siren of success, along with the Muse of Mammon, wailed a seductive tune, irresistible inits promise but demanding in the changes deemed necessary if I were to singalong: The Merry Mediterranean mirage would have to give way to the AggressiveAmerican 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 theAmerican standards and expectations of what that word represented."
Boulder, Colorado, USA
The admiration and aristocratic respect given the artist in Europe is strippedclean upon arrival in the U.S. as these architects of culture are transmogrifiedinto novelty items and entertaining curiosities. The centuries-old traditionof dedication and perfection while working in the solitude of a tranquilstudio at the limited speed allowed by brush and paint is left at the gatesof the rapid-fire, nonstop, instant-sensual-gratification American sitcomculture. Trying to compete in the fast lane of the high-velocity illusionsand banal delusions of movies and TV poses a problem for the painter andhis two-dimensional immobile images. Nevertheless, the challenge, then asnow, of affecting the consciousness with more eternal value cannot be denied,and so, combining the historical deep roots of European culture with thedynamic of America's youthful energy, an attempt is constantly made".
Over the course of 20 years Robert Venosa 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 compañera of 30 years and wife, Martina Hoffmann.
Robert teaching a painting workshop at Naropa University in Boulder, 1990 (above) and at Boom Festival in Portugal in 2008. (below)
Until his departure, August 9th, 2011, Robert Venosa maintained studios in both Boulder, Colorado, and Cadaques.
Robert Venosa in Kona, Hawaii, 2010
Perhaps the best description of Venosa's art
comes from those who are respected masters themselves.
"Bravo Venosa! Dali is pleased to see spiritual madness painted with such a fine technique."
"Robert Venosa's art truly captures the imprint of a spiritual force,each painting so alive, seeming to breathe, pulsate and stare back at you,challenging the viewer to also reach their highest potential."
Carlos Santana & Venosa
Los Angeles, 1989
"Robert Venosa creates mythical mindscapes that fascinate and illuminate. His tableaux are windows into timeless vistas of the inner realities."
"An inspired beinglike Venosa has got to paint inspiring visions. One expects that from him"
Venosa, Giger, Cadaques, 1977
"Venosa submerges into the cosmic mysteries and brings back fantastic visions dressed in the perfect and classic technique of a painter who completely mastershis art."
Jean 'Moebius' Girard
"Robert Venosa's imagery is a portal into the mescaline canyons of the imagination.
His is an informed yet visionary grasp of the icons of the spiritual anderotic."
Venosa, Terence McKenna, Boulder, 1996