About the artist
Rob Zeller Bio
Robert Zeller is an artist and writer, living in Brooklyn. Zeller received a BFA from the Boston Museum School and Tufts University and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. In addition, he continued his study of classical form with private anatomical study with the sculptor Sabin Howard, and also at the Water Street Atelier.
He is the recipient of two Posey Fellowships in 1998 and 2000, respectively, and won a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2007. Zeller has exhibited his artwork in Los Angeles, Houston, and Paris.
In January 2009, he founded the Teaching Studios of Art, an art school devoted to teaching traditional techniques to artists of all ages and skill levels. Over 9 years, the school has hosted classes and workshops taught by some of the finest faculty working in Figurative art today.
He has written a book about the Figure for Monacelli Press, called The Figurative Artist's Handbook which was released in April 2017. In addition, he has written essays for The Brooklyn Rail and Drawing Magazine. In 2014, he was the subject of a feature profile in Professional Artist Magazine. He has been quoted or written about in several national publications regarding The Teaching Studios of Art, including American Artist and Studios magazines.
He was the co-curator of The New Baroque, an exhibition at Booth Gallery in NYC from November 2017- January 2018. The show was based on The Figurative Artist's Handbook and featured 21 of the artists included in the book and a couple of others, encompassing contemporary figure painting as well as sculpture.
While I am influenced a great deal by contemporary figurative artists as diverse as Neo Rausch and Bo Bartlett, the truth is I have been fascinated by Renaissance painting. Part of this is due to a Catholic upbringing in New Orleans. As a child, I remember having dreams about angels swirling around the ceiling in my room as I drifted off to sleep. I was a little different, even then. There is something grand and sweepingly bold about the great Italian and Northern European artists in the 15th and 16th centuries. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to grow up and draw like Michelangelo, paint like Titian and Leonardo, design compositions like Tintoretto, etc. These men were giants to my younger self, me in the best possible way.
But, as an adult, someone who reads philosophy, psychology and Joseph Campbell, I've grow more attracted to the exploring the subconscious and the archetypes of dream imagery. Personally, I do not see a point top going back in time for artistic answers, but I do see the point of traveling inward. I have become a Surrealist in sheep’s clothing.
Photograph by Sandro Baebler Photography