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Robert Obier: Inside His Studio

Robert Obier is an architect/designer, whose work blurs the lines between design, architecture and art! Obier studied architecture and industrial design, earning degrees in both. Recently, he has moved from creating architectural designs to 3D art objects. Obier creates abstracted works of art that are simultaneously modern and from a different time.

Obier lives and works in Baton Rouge, LA where he maintains his studio/ wood shop. Here are some photos from his shop!

To create his works of art, Obier begins by creating a thumbnail sketch or computer model of his pieces. Then using 3D printers or CNC cutting machines, he cuts his creations out of wood. The next step is to “weather” them or paint them. This results in creations that seem to belong to a different civilization or time than the present. For instance, Dynamo- I represents the marriage of technological creation with inspiration from past eras or civilization.

The final creations are ornamental 3D art objects, although Obier has also created concept designs for lamps. You can check out his architectural and concept designs on his website.

Obier’s work has been featured online, in television and movies and in magazines, as well as has been exhibited many times at art fairs. Recently, Obier’s work was exhibited at Clio Art Fair in September 2022. Then, in November last year, his work was on display with Alessandro Berni Gallery at Art Aqua Miami!

You can learn more about his studio and practice by following him on Instagram: @Obierstudios

Then, read on below for my interview with him!

How does your background in Architecture and Industrial Design influence/ aid your current artistic practice?

My artwork is a direct extension and expression of the concepts and design methodologies I have developed over the years. These concepts are rooted in a systematic method of organization that is the basis of all of my work as a designer. I have always been fascinated by the forms and technologies inherent in transportation design and how such might be applied to my work as an architect and now as an artist.

Can you explain how you create your sculptures using 3D computer models?

I always begin with a quick thumbnail sketch that captures the initial idea. Computer models may be used to further study a concept and to explore various iterations. Computer models may also be used for CNC machining and 3-D printing when required.

How and why do you “weather” your creations to make them look older/used?

The fundamental principal behind my work is unity. An absolute effort to achieve a result that is complete, integral and fully resolved. These principles have guided the makers of the great works of architecture throughout the centuries, but not in our present day. The post-modern world is fragmented, undisciplined and is not guided by these eternal principals, as our politics and culture clearly are in evidence. My work, therefore, is not “of” the present, at least in the origins of its creation. Still, it is intended to refer to an unknown place and time when these values exist and are given form.

Are there projects/ creations you envision making in the future?

I am working on a series of art pieces that will express my interest in the forms of transportation design. Specifically, automobiles and sailing yachts.

You say on your website that Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed architect, and Andy Goldsworthy, were great influences for you. Can you explain what about those two artists has influenced you?

I remember sitting in a history of architecture class and seeing “Fallingwater” for the first time. I was fascinated by how this dwelling could seem to be so naturally a part of this beautiful environment and also be so clearly a man-made structure, simultaneously. It seemed as if this was a absolutely unique structure.

I spent years studying how this could be and how it was achieved. My work today is a result of those efforts. It reflects my own understanding and visualization of the discipline inherent in such a creation.

For Andy Goldsworthy, the answer is about the same. He uses “found” natural materials and arranges them in a way that is clearly intentional, often bringing a new sense of focus and unity to these natural environments. Man existing beautifully with nature.

What’s one thing about your artistic/production process that you think would surprise people to know?

While I sometimes use computer modeling and shop drawing to create my art, most often I begin building from nothing more than the rough thumbnail sketch, usually drawn on scratch paper. I love the immediacy of this method and the fact that the entire build is an evolving creative process.

When you first decided to start making these pieces?

For a very long time I have considered doing something as an artist but could never quite determine how to express my ideas in art. A couple of years ago I forced myself to “just build something” no matter what. Just “get through it” even if its not perfect. I have since learned to embrace imperfection and actually to seek it out. Often, the true story, the real beauty, can be found within the imperfect

What are visitors first reactions when they see your pieces?

I truly love to hear what people see in the work and am surprised how often we see the same things. I have heard terms like medieval, tribal and sci-fi. People have mentioned Star Wars and Game of Thrones. I think my favorite is when someone says, “if feels powerful.”


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