Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bob Amft a Mentor

Robert Amft is a legend within the Chicago art community.  It just happens that I was lucky enough to live in the condo below him when I was growing up, but a little more about Bob first.  Bob Amft was born in Chicago in 1916 and grew up during the depression. Bob remained in Chicago for most of his life and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was a very celebrated artist who won many awards such as the Art Institutes Curators' Choice award. To this day he still has works hanging in the Art Institute. Unfortunately he passed away two years ago and I had not seen him in 7 years or so.  I do not really wish to write about Bob on a historical level, but more about how he impacted my life forever.  As a 5 year old boy I still remember climbing the back balcony stairs up to Bob's home, which unlike our condo, he had transformed into a massive art studio. Every room in his condo was filled with different art pieces; it often smelled of paint and oils.  It was one thing to be creative, but what was truly amazing was his willingness to share that creativity with a young boy who knew nothing about art at the time.

Bob was a man of many talents and throughout his career he worked with a variety of mediums.  I still remember him working at his table with different clays, metals and, woods. He was truly an innovator and I believe he saw the world through a different lens. I mean he even literally saw the world through a different lens, almost anytime he used a camera he would double the exposure in order to create natural light gradients.

Bob was never one to follow a trend; throughout his entire career he only followed his own direction. He laid the ground work for modern day graffiti by using commercial spray paint when everyone else thought it was weird.  He embodied creativity in every way.  Even though my friendship with Bob was when I was much younger, I still believe that he truly facilitated my creative side and he still helps me understand art, despite being gone. I believe that the ability pass on creativity is creative in and of itself, and it is because of this that Robert Amft was definitely an influential creative.

This is one of his most famous work and it how he saw himself.  This self-portrait is in an extremely unique style; making it even more impressive that he was just as good at sculpting and other forms of art. He showed clear signs of creativity such as the openness to experiences and genre flexibility. Bob showed many of the five essential attributes of creativity. For example he was absolutely tolerant of ambiguity especially when entering into a new style. He persevered even when people were saying his work was ludicrous.  In the end Bob was an inspiration to me and many others and I truly think he was an unbelievable artist, far ahead of his own time.

1 comment:

  1. What a small world to live underneath such a unique artist. Robert Amft throws the standard artist style out the window and brings a whole new creative aspect to it. You can tell that he was never one to follow someone else and was instead a leader and innovator in the artistic world.


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