Robin Howard is a full-time artist who lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina. Robin explores the roles between science, nature, magic, and myth through mixed-media works that incorporate storytelling and found objects. She invites the viewer into her imaginary worlds through vignettes that are inspiring, mysterious, playful, and sometimes haunting. Born in Indiana, Robin was inspired by the outsider artists of the rural South and Midwest. After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Anthropology and studying papermaking at Columbia College in Chicago, her art evolved to incorporate traditional techniques with the innocence of the outsider genre.
Art Mag Interview
"Robin Howard’s shadow boxes of ephemera and unusual objects seem like an artistic love child between the famously reclusive, found-object artist Aldwyth, a touch of local artist Hirona Matsuda, with more color and literary influences, and a larger world perspective. She was featured on Show & Tell Art & Design, curated by art patron and local tastemaker Leila Davenport Ross."
Q: ‘Outsider Art’ is a term that a lot of audience members struggle with. What does the term mean to you, what makes you identify with it?
A: Traditionally Outsider artists have no formal training and are unaware of the art market and the value of art. They make art from whatever they can find and are driven by a deep compulsion to express personal truth. The resulting art is so raw, so vulnerable and sincere that it speaks directly from one person’s soul to another’s. Even though I eventually had some training as a papermaker, I do identify with being an Outsider because I have always created out of an almost painful compulsion to express things I can’t put into words. Assemblage is usually an Outsider medium because we see how broken, discarded things can have a beautiful new story. Outsiders usually have histories of intense struggle, so assemblage is absolutely a metaphor for a primal belief in hope. In that way, I’ll always be an Outsider. And, if ever I stop being an Outsider, I’ll stop being an artist. Read more....
Voyage ATL Interview
Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Howard.
Robin, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in relative isolation in the rural Midwest. Though I spent most of my time escaping into books and plotting what I would do when I got old enough to leave, it turned out to be a lucky upbringing. All of that solitude allowed me to develop independently of outside influences. As a result, I have always been on my own trajectory.
I have assembled things as long as I can remember. They were less like art and more like small alters, totems or collections of symbolic objects that told a story. My dad was a carpenter, so I had access to his scraps and tools. I loved collecting little bits of broken things and making small boxes for them. I didn’t see assemblage art until I was in college and discovered Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg. Finding a label for what it is that I was doing was validating. By then my style had developed in a vacuum though. I don’t have the frenetic energy of Rauschenberg or the straightforward interpretations of Cornell, though I do wonder how my work would be different if I’d known about them earlier in my life.