Honoring The Dan’s Papers Cover Artist: Lawrence Roberts

Dan's Cover
Dan's Cover

This week’s cover art by Lawrence Roberts is eye-catching, perhaps because it’s not your ordinary beach scene. The image is an example of Minimalism and fantasy. Roberts’ mixture of styles is an indication of his aesthetics, his way of seeing the environment from varied perspectives.

Lawrence Roberts
Lawrence Roberts

Where did you get your inspiration for “A Touch of Romance,” the cover image?

It was from a photograph of a friend dancing on a Hudson River pier near the West Village in New York. I put my twist on it by putting the couple on a beach.

What made you put the people on a beach?

The light in the photo reminded me of the light on the beach in the Hamptons.

Are there other specific things that attract you to a particular setting or subject?

What influences me is where I am at any given moment. I contribute my approach of seeing things to any place. It’s not the place itself that determines if I paint it.

So you don’t prefer the city over the country?

I like them equally well.

But every environment must have similar qualities.

Every setting has bold form, simplicity. You can find these in most environments. You have to tease them out. There’s also shape and motion and an emotional feeling present.

It seems to me that these qualities are easier to find in the country.

The challenge is to say something new and intriguing with the simplicity.

So where does originality come from?

From teasing out isolated elements to make a thing clearer, to find spaces between things, not the thing itself. Seeing parts of things rather than the Gestalt.

You teach law, which seems so separated from art. How does art and law connect?

Every artist can benefit from a year in law school. Artists could learn how to think like a lawyer, to see the world as a series of relationships. To ask questions, like “Is this all there is? What’s the scope? To imagine what could be.” (Every artist does that already.)

These ideas could apply to a lot of disciplines.

It’s not exclusive to art. To perceive by analogy, explore an issue beyond what has been done before. You’re looking at existing environments to see what is not commonly observed, what isn’t taken for granted.

What came first, law or art?

I grew up in a family of lawyers. I started using a camera at 15, and I had some art in high school. I learned that it’s a common illusion that photography captures reality. But it just crafts the environment. I also learned to make a connection between the visual arts: photography, sculpture, painting.

What else did you learn about connections?

It’s good to have wildly varied interests, to experience a new idea that was fascinating.

What do you do with your ideas?

If it’s a legal one, I write a paper. If you’re a judge, he/she could write an opinion. Each discipline has its method, but the approach is universal. I like to take something that is out in left field and apply it to something traditional. The point is, come up with a solution.

There are so many things that need solutions,

Little things make a difference if you are making change in the right time and place.

Visit saatchionline.com/lawroberts or email Larry Roberts at [email protected]

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