John Dewey wrote about art as the place in school where the child could bring there entire self to the table, the whole kid- physical, emotional, intellectual. As an artist interested in ways that creative expression has meaningful effects on individuals in a society, teaching Upper Elementary Art at HSH provides Mr. Robby a joyous seat to see this in action.
Mr. Robby grew up in forested New York State, with an elementary year spent entirely vagabonding around the Middle East and Europe with his family. He graduated from the experimental Hampshire College in Amherst, MA where he developed a major somewhere between sociology and sculpture. In his twenties he spent a lot of time exploring places between art and life, eventually getting an MFA in Fine Art from California Institute of the Arts in nearby Valencia. That’s where he met his partner Kimberly. When Robby finished school, one of the things he did was accept a Teaching Artist Fellowship from the Armory Center For the Arts in Pasadena. After that he began teaching art in many places in Southern California and beyond, among them: public and private schools (New Roads Middle School, Woodland Hills Elementary School), museums (MOCA, LACMA), and universities (USC, Otis College Of Art). He is deeply rewarded by the 10 year relationship he’s had with Hollywood Schoolhouse, where he loves engaging with every whole kid, every day. Today, one of them is his daughter, Juniper, who’s entering 3rd Grade this year. He’s inspired by HSH’s creative and daring community of learners.
When he’s not at the Schoolhouse Robby is working as an artist and an art writer. As a visual artist he steers hard left towards the experimental side, though his work takes material form in representational drawing, sculpture, performance, and publishing. This past year he co-curated a two part exhibition with the nearby non-proffit art-space, LACE, that explored race in contemporary art. He had a solo exhibition of drawings at Commonwealth & Council Gallery, and finished a year long public art project in San Francisco with both SOEX and the Headlands Art Center. And you can still catch him introducing the the occasional segment he wrote for KCET TV’s contemporary art program Artbound, where he’s been a contributing writer since the shows inception in 2012.
When he isn’t working one of his favorite things to do is to find novel ways to play with friends, which eventually rolls its way back into my teaching at HSH.