MUSIC WAS MY FIRST LOVE
THE NOTES UNDERNEATH
THE DONNER PARTY
Robert Saywitz is a Bay Area-based multi-disciplinary artist, designer, illustrator, and visual storyteller. He creates graphic narratives in his original works on canvas, paper, found objects, and artist books with the intention of building images infused with emotion as a magnification and intensification of our daily life experiences. These images represent glimpses of how he perceives the places, people, and sounds within himself and the world around him.
Finding inspiration from collective and personal histories—and often the world of music—Saywitz approaches each project as an investigative journalist might begin to research, analyze, and unpack certain stories or moments in time that were either overlooked, misunderstood, or simply forgotten. He seeks out ideas from the world of history, books, and news stories, but his personal studio—full of seemingly random artifacts including old instruction manuals, maps, magazine clippings, keys, matchbooks, old typewriters, and ticket stubs—functions as an essential library of inspiration and tools for each project. The artist seeks out materials that will work as a blank canvas for a drawing or painting, but also those which relate to the subject matter. Many of these non-traditional and found materials—including antique books, wooden crates, or music-related items like vinyl and cassettes—are part of Saywitz’s process to breathe new life into discarded or antiquated objects that often find themselves on the street or in second-hand shops. Often the deterioration of the materials will add to his storytelling. The manual typewriter also plays a large role in his recent works—a nod to his skillset as a graphic designer, and his passion for typography and the physical book.
Saywitz believes that the creative process of the visual artist closely mirrors that of the musician. Both adhere to laws of rhythm, harmony, tone and composition—while utilizing elements within a specific medium to create original and evocative stories. Just as the musician forms a composition through the arrangement of notes, melodies, and silence, the visual artist composes a story using form, color, and negative space. His work has been exhibited at various art spaces and galleries in New York and California.