The Essential Art of Sport - No1
Welcome to the Essential Art of Sport - A place where we interview some of the most talented Sports Artists across the globe.
We are so pleased to open the Essential Art of Sport with a very talented Sports Artist, Mark Robinson. We met Mark several years ago when he was the Artist in Residence at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai with the European Tour.
Having seen the quality of Marks work in person, he is the perfect Artist to start off the Essential Art of Sport section. Join us in welcoming Mark Robinson.
Q. Your Name?
A. Mark Edgar Thomas Robinson
Q. Are there any other Artist names you go by?
A. Mark Robinson, Robinson Golf Art
Insta: @golfartstudio Twitter: @markgolfart
Q. Favourite Sports Team or Athlete?
A. Manchester United
Q. How many years have you been an Artist / how long in Sports Art?
A. 46 years total. 14 years in sports art.
You as an Artist
Q. What type of Sports art do you specialize in creating?
A. Primarily Golf related art but I have painted other sports inc
Rugby, polo, tennis, equestrian, basketball, Football….
Q. How would you describe your painting style and what are the types of techniques you use as an Artist?
A. I would describe my ‘Swing Portraits’ as Hi Contrast, Hi Movement, ‘swing works’. I like it when people looking at my portraits can recognise golfers from their painted swing shape. I hate portraits that look nothing like the subject and take great care with facials and muscle form. I prefer acrylic paints because of their quick drying time allowing me to build up layer upon layer with various levels of opacity. With oils you have to take drying times into consideration. That is not to say I don’t paint in oils. I love to but not with swing portraits. I take photos of the subject at a tournament whenever possible and use those as my reference. Private commissions make up the bulk of my work. Up until 2020 I painted live at golf tournaments on the Tours which required a less formal style than studio paintings, the idea being that I’d capture the final moments by the 18th. So, Grandstands, people, golfers, mobile phones, the champ’ an overall impression of the scene, again in acrylic paints on canvas.
Q. Are there any techniques you want to incorporate into your future work or would like to learn?
A. I did study printing, including etching, as part of my Fine Art Foundation course at Art School. I quite fancy some Golf Art Print Making. I’m a big fan of Leroy Neiman and it would be great to let loose with colour but I know I would be too concerned with accuracy to totally let loose!
Q. What is the biggest (in dimensions) piece of art you have created and what was it for?
A. A forty foot fiberglass camel and flames as part of my stage designs for 2008 Dubai Desert Rock Festival. Designed that and Dubai Urban Festival in the same year.
Q. Which piece of art are you most proud of creating and why?
A. Painted two portrait of Mr Jack Nicklaus for the National Golf Club Challenge/Help For Heroes in 2013. Mr Nicklaus signed one, kept one and mentioned that he liked both. I’m also pretty proud of the project in 2018 with Three time Major Champion Padraig Harrington. We jointly produced a painted Earth for GOAL.ie What On Earth Charity Auction. Ours raised £4500.00
Q. Your favorite materials for creating art? What’s in your armory? (canvas, paper, types of paint, pencil, charcoal etc)?
A. Acrylics, Oils, Watercolour, Chalks, Charcoal, Graphite sticks.
I use most surfaces. Always sketching and designing.
Q. What is the one art related object/tool that you could not do without?
A. My eyes and hands! Hardware ? ….. Graphite pencils and pad
Influence and Vision
Q. Do you remember your first sale? What was the item and how did it make you feel?
A. I sold things right from the off in 1973, I was thirteen. First one? Probably a caran dashe copy of an album cover. May be a copy of a Rodger Dean cover, Fragile perhaps. Wouldn't have been for more than a fiver. Don’t remember but was always happy to sell stuff and I was a big Metal and Prog Rock fan. I played in bands from the age of Fourteen.
Q. Which Artist/s inspires you and why (Sport or non-sport related)?
A. Turner, Durer, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Corot, Ingres, Sissley, Caravaggio and Cezanne are some of my favourite artists. No one tops Turner. I’m a big fan of the Pre Raphelites too. Modern stuff? Not really.. Freud, Bacon and some Hockney and Neiman of course. I also collect art books. Inspiration comes from many places. I guess I have a love for these artists because they hit the ‘I get it’ button in me. Something I recognise and feel. Turner for instance was a bit of a loner in that he liked his own company but played the game. He liked to experiment with the application of his paints using rags , his hands, he’d scrub away with just about anything to make the marks he imagined would eventually come together to form a contemporary original painting. You can’t care what people think. All you can do is be honest in your approach and the artists above were not trying to be current and popular, they were true to their art.
Q. Could you describe what your dream commission would be?
A. A portrait of Banksy or Emin. Just for the cash! What happened to ‘True to your art!’ Ha Ha. Seriously though to paint at the Open Championship.
Q. What advice would you give to an existing artist if they were looking at creating pieces in Sports Art for the first time?
A. Start with a sport you know and love. Use the medium you are best at.
We would like to thank Mark Robinson for his time and being the first Sports Artist we have interviewed for the Essential Art of Sport.
Want to be featured? Drop us a line.
Pdi Sports Art Admin