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As an artist, Adrien Robert (a.k.a. sAne) is hard to classify. His work spans genres, mediums, techniques and themes, with perhaps the only unifying factor being the ideas of mutability and spontaneity.
Robert, who will return to CU next spring after spending a year at Naropa University, does everything from painting and graffiti to calligraphy, beadwork and woodworking.
“I’ve always dabbled with creating things,” Robert said. “I used to do a lot of woodworking and drawing, and then I got into tagging and painting. I guess I’m a jack-of-all-trades – even creating functional structures, I consider that a form of art.”
Robert’s art is a close corollary to his academic studies. With help from members of the CU faculty, Roberts was able to design his own “independently-structured” major, which he calls “system studies.” This involves the study of rules that govern all systems, as well examining holistic approaches to problem solving. These ideas inspire his work as an artist.
“The whole idea of technique and spontaneity translates over from my academic research,” he said. “I’m interested in making connections between different paradigms or ideas. I try to find other ways to convey my research.”
Robert calls his approach to art “freestyleMovement.” This refers to an evolving, growing and mutating form of art that relies on spontaneous improvisation.
“Each moment offers a new possibility,” he said. “One moment will tell you that you’re doing something wrong, another moment will tell you to keep going. Every moment tells you something.”
Robert, who speaks French, German, Spanish and some Japanese, has also traveled the world extensively, and he said his travels have greatly influenced his art.
“I just try to be as open as possible,” he said. “I always see potential in being new places and meeting new people. There is a lot of value in having been to another place.”
In fact, Robert was born in Switzerland, where he lived for 10 years before moving to Rochester, N.Y. It was in Rochester that he started becoming actively involved in art and different modes of expression. The scene he was involved with in downtown Rochester helped solidify his artistic inclination, exposing him to new music and creative people.
“There was a really cool music scene downtown,” he said. “Music has always played a big part in how my art flows. Downtown Rochester was sort of a hub of break dancing, spinning, etc. It really kick-started a lot of my thought processes.”
A common theme Robert’s work explores is the passage of time. One way he explores this theme is through live painting, where he paints in front of spectators at concerts and parties.
“Live painting is great. I feel I have a lot of energy to share with musicians,” he said. “But where a musician will rehearse a song, these are all unrehearsed paintings.”
The idea of time also inspires Robert’s solitary work.
“Time creates layers, time creates flow. Painting is like a diary that you keep, that changes with your mood,” he said. “My longest paintings I’ve worked on for months, and they evolve during that time. They’re linked to my moods.”
In the future, Robert said he hopes to continue exposing his art to as many people as possible.
“I want to get into the most traveled venues, whether they’re galleries or music venues,” he said. “Art is a mode of communication, and from the feedback I’ve received, people enjoy what I’m communicating. Art has such a diverse range of meanings. It’s wonderful that the world has grown to accept so many different kinds of artists.”
For more information on Adrien Robert (sAne), and to view his work, visit his website at www.freestylemovement.com.