about rob tokarz

Painting is a fusion of subject matter, the image in the painter's mind, and the medium. For me, it's a struggle to capture the essence of personality, the chaos of line, and the tranquility of color and pattern. Growing up in Chicago with blue-collar Polish immigrant parents, I developed an early interest in art-making. As a child, I copied the people around me on any surface I could find, and my fascination with the figure and portrait deepened as I broadened my interests beyond pencil and pen. By my late teens, I was painting on canvas, using acrylic for its immediacy, allowing me to complete works in a single session.

After moving to Los Angeles for an MFA at the California Institute of the Arts, I pursued a dual career in film and painting. The combination of film's organized chaos and Southern California's sunny disposition focused my hand, honed an energetic approach to technique, and notably brightened my palette. Influenced by Schiele, Picasso, Matisse, and graphic comic books, each work attempted to resolve my impatient nature and obsessions. The female figure, in particular, has always been a source of fascination and eagerness. I aim to extend the art history motif of "the nude" while confronting the viewer with as much feminine tenacity, empathy, and grace as possible.

My work continues to attack line, color, pattern, and abstraction. Working in watercolor, ink, and acrylic, I strive for something more profound than a likeness to a spark of personality and the inherent power of my subject. The small size of my work aims to create intimacy, affording the faces and figures a moment in time to inspire, arouse, and affect the viewer. I invite you to peer deeper into my work and see them for their brashness and subtleties.