Introducing Artist/Skateboarder, Robby Rose.


When I began Shred Social(My first company revolving around skateboarding), I was brainstorming different ways to promote the website. During that period, it occurred to me that there was a large group of skateboarders on the Reddit group "Skateboarding". I posted up a description of the site and what my goal was with it. One of the first responses I received was from an incredible artist and avid skateboarder; his name was Robby Rose. Robby wrote a large paragraph raving about the site. Little did I know at the time, but he was the one who should be raved about.

Robby and I kept in touch over the span of about 4 months. We were emailing back and forth, until one day his art came up, as well as a YouTube series he had begun, based in New York City where he lives. His artwork was the first thing I saw of the two, and I was blown away.  

Jonah, oil paint, 25" x 35"

Jonah, oil paint, 25" x 35"

His Tumblr contained about eight different paintings when he sent me the link. Each one as equally as amazing as the others. Robby's paintings don't just come to life, they look like real life. Even more impressive, each picture depicts a unique and soul-grabbing element that seems to capture a very humanistic moment, causing you to feel like you're experiencing it with Robby and his subject(s). 

Chad & Lauren, oil paint, 18.5 x 29.5

Chad & Lauren, oil paint, 18.5 x 29.5

After seeing his Tumblr and reading about his passion for skateboarding, I asked him if I could interview him for a Shred Social Article. A week or so went by and we ended up doing the interview through FaceTime, (since for some reason our computer headphones refused to cooperate with us).

In the interview, I first inquired about how skateboarding influenced his art: 

The mentality of skating also applies to my painting process. My current work is photorealistic and often tedious. The extremely technical parts are draining, and giving up would be a relief. This is where the single minded focus of not giving up come into play, which is inherent in skating, when you try a trick over and over until you land it. The final result makes it worthwhile even if you fall countless times during the process.
— Robby Rose

We of course both thought of Rodney Mullen's TED Talk and the truthfulness it really held. Skateboarding for him has always been a way to clear his mind and alleviate the stress he and the people around him have had to endure.

Lymphoma, Sclerosis of the Vein , oil paint, 18.5” x 24”

Lymphoma, Sclerosis of the Vein, oil paint, 18.5” x 24”

In skateboarding, you have to stop thinking about everything else in order to focus on what you are doing so you don’t fall, and endorphins are also a big help.
— Robby Rose

The Vibrant colors and designs of the late 1980's skateboard graphics, by Jim Phillips and Vernon Courtlandt Johnson (as well as others), influenced Robby's art as well. He described his attraction to that time period of pro skateboard graphics being attributed to their extreme vividness and expressive nature. Ever since he was a kid, they inspired him to create pieces that were not only bold, but provocative as well.

Shotgun , oil paint, 24.25” x 36.25”

Shotgun, oil paint, 24.25” x 36.25”

Robby explained that the idea of going all out, and creating whatever you wanted, was taken to the next level in the ‘90s by artists like Marc Mckee. He thought that in the present time, cool illustrative boards are still produced, but logo boards are ubiquitous.

The Mullen Rock Is King graphic and Iannucci Tree Licker graphic both by Mckee. Courtesy of Marc Mckee and  ESPN .

The Mullen Rock Is King graphic and Iannucci Tree Licker graphic both by Mckee. Courtesy of Marc Mckee and ESPN.

We also discussed his video project that he's been working on. So far, he has had two episodes come out entitled, "Your Three Favorite Things 1" and "Your Three Favorite Things 2". The videos carry with them such simple names and yet, both videos describe so perfectly what it's like to be human, much like his art.

I had to ask towards the end of the interview the common, but important question, "What's next?" Well, if you're in New York City in mid-November, you're in luck! Robby will be showcasing his art at The Java Project on November 20th, at 252 Java Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222. The show will essentially be a party, and towards the end, there will be live music in an outdoor performance space behind the gallery. The name of the show is "Pain Free" and I'll let Robby tell you about it in his own words:

Pain Free is a mix of paintings and drawings that blend mournful and celebratory images into an exhibition that represents the full spectrum of life. The portraits range from infants to young adults. A centerpiece in the show is a painting of my friend Dave who died on his motorcycle a few years ago. On each side will be flower arrangements. In his case they represent a funeral, but they can also represent a wedding since they are next to paintings of my friends Chad and Lauren (who are married).

I love the sentiment of the quote “This too shall pass”. It’s amazing how time makes any horrible experience, or great experience, fade away or transform as the years go on. Dave’s death was devastating at first, but time has turned it into something that is motivating. “Pain Free” came to mind shortly after I had seizures due to a head injury, and my girlfriend Eileen had recently come home after a month in the hospital because of Lymphoma. We were driving in her car, and I had the idea to put that saying on a shirt (which I never did). I thought “pain free” would be an ironic and liberating motto. Even though life was at an all time low, it seemed like shrugging it off would be hilarious and ridiculous. I guess my concept was to just move on. All that stuff was painful, but it made my family send me to rehab. The discomfort went away over time, and it has motivated me to stay sober for the last 11 years.
— Robby Rose
30 Stitches and a Cigarette Burn , oil paint, 8.25” x 10.125”

30 Stitches and a Cigarette Burn, oil paint, 8.25” x 10.125”

Robby has been one of the nicest, humblest, and most talented skateboarders that I've had the pleasure to talk to in a long time. His story and art pieces are an inspiration to me and I'm privileged to have interviewed him.  I hope any of you out there that live in NYC or will be visiting, will attend his art show, because I know it will be amazing.

Be sure to keep in touch with him and follow him for future updates - links are provided below. Thanks for reading!


This site is dedicated to my oil paintings, pencil drawings, and video portraits.