Robert Mars (American, born 1969)
Chronicling a fascination with 1950s and 60s iconography, Robert Mars has produced a body of artwork from his studio in Connecticut that celebrates the commonplace objects and icons of an America long past in a thoroughly modern, and exquisitely constructed, manner. He manipulates both the color and wordplay of vintage printed material with celebrity imagery and is often likened to Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, among other masters from Pop Art.
Through the application of a rich color palette and tongue in cheek attitude, his paintings evoke a vintage quality of design and pay homage to the idealized age of growth and hopefulness that was prevalent in the USA at the end of World War II. A time where visual information was not constantly blasted to millions, and there was no such thing as instant digital celebrities; where instead people lived with the myth of the unique, untouchable and unforgettable personalities of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley, and many others. By combining vintage wallpapers with quilt patterns and Folk Art sensibilities, he is able to further differentiate himself from the scores of artists using similar iconic themes and present a personal vision of Americana.
A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Robert often references his decades as a graphic designer in his work. He begins the creative process by preparing his surface with multiple layers of vintage magazine paper to define the edges and delineate the background planes of color. He then alternates layers of paint and vintage paper ephemera, sanding away portions of the layers as he works, revealing the desired sections of under painting with the overall intention to provide the viewer with a muted window into America’s past.