About the artist
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 school devoted to teaching tractional techniques to artists of all ages and skill levels.
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 is the co-curator of the upcoming exhibition, The New Baroque, at Booth Gallery in NYC in November 2017. The show is based on his book on the figure, but moves beyond the boundaries of the original text.
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 my entire life. 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 me in the best possible way.
But, as someone who reads philosophy, psychology and Joseph Campbell, I know that the subconscious rules the conscious, and in fact all of us. There is no going back in time for artistic answers, but there is a point to traveling inward. So I have learned to accept it:
I am a Surrealist in sheep’s clothing.
Photograph by Sandro Baebler Photography