Bow, Washington… Nestled in the Skagit Valley farmland below the Chuckanut foothills lies the studio of sculptor Robert E Gigliotti. A quaint barn-like building surrounded by large trees swaying in the breeze, this artistic space sets a calming tone for new beginnings – a sanctuary bringing life to artistic experiences. Welcome to the studio of sculptor and print maker, Skagit artist Robert Gigliotti.
Living many years in and around large cities, Robert welcomes the fresh atmosphere his remote studio offers. His serene space supports the Buddhist mindset that largely effects his very intentional life and inspirational bodies of work.
Robert’s large art studio splits into two sections, one side organized mostly for storage, the other showcases his tools of the trade for woodworking and sculpting, sure to make any 3D artist jealous. This creative space is surrounded by large windows hung throughout the building allowing an abundance of natural light and a clear view of the surrounding trees and open sky, creating a unique sense of tranquility. This private studio is a maker space for new beginnings in many forms.
The works… Robert’s defined work area is covered with projects in-progress and projects completed. His intricate sculptures are made primarily of bronze, stone and some larger pieces in fabricated metals. Featured among these uniquely created works of art are large steel sculptures commissioned for public art installations. I also noticed several smaller figurative works carefully created in bronze, plasters, and plastics. Controlled artistic chaos by way of intentional arrangement describes Gigliotti’s remote studio space. His domain is an intentional extension of his uber-imaginative personality and passion to create and explore processes through many mediums. The work adorning every portion of the space exemplifies his complex nature. And hanging overhead, an unbelievably impressive handmade canoe taking more than 100+ hours to complete.
The resources… Robert shared that working with materials such as bronze and steel can be very demanding and expensive. To finish certain works, he relies upon the services of local foundries to cast his sculpture made from materials like bronze and stainless steel. Robert’s bronze pieces are the most striking, revealing intricate, smoothly finished, and defined details. Bronze is his preferred medium as it allows an unparalleled level of manipulation of form that other 3D materials cannot match. Another benefit to working with bronze and casting molds to create these pieces is that once the prototype (called a cast) has been made it becomes much easier to create multiples.
Creating from these natural and impactful materials demands the vision of an exceptional type of artist. The work is presented in such a manner it almost looks as if it was found in the dirt and formed by nature. The technical prowess of his bronze workings demonstrates Robert’s ability to artistically eliminate the obvious, making the piece all the more visually compelling. An example of this technique is his work titled “ROWER” which shows a man positioned mid-row in a canoe, only there is no canoe. At first simply interesting, I found this piece to be most engaging. Rower seems to depict a more intricate and spiritual metaphor for how Robert lives his intentional life and what impact he wishes his art to have on a viewer. Robert’s obvious omission seems to imply a message about non-dualism. By leaving out key features, or what we assume would be, Robert hopes to push us outside the bounds of our preconceived notions into a holistic view that considers all things in relevance.
“I think what artists are doing intuitively is trying to get away from the small self and connect with the universal self. That’s what art is in the small self. It is the inability to perceive everything as it truly is, versus how my senses are telling me to see it. The small stuff is this package, this ego, and you know, in spiritual terms the ego is the fabrication.” – Robert Gigliotti
The man… Much of artist Robert Gigliotti’s life experiences are about intention and the creative process. He has earned a nearly completed graduate degree in sociology and has made a practice of more than a decade-long research into Buddhism. As a modern day artist, Robert has chosen to combine with his love of physical and tactile mediums with his unique understanding and representation of how he sees the world and what he wants a viewer to think and feel about his art. A man who continues to inspire and influence the world of art, Robert Gigliotti thrives in the natural setting of his own making, a studio embraced by nature, a space he states he will continue to feel inspired to keep working in until the day he is no longer able.
Artist + Graphic Designer + Arts & Entertainment Contributor
Benjamin Vanderwerff is a traditionally trained artist with focuses in painting, illustration, and woodworking. Ben mixes his innate artistic gifts with his degree in graphic design and talents as a writer and social media marketer to contribute to the worlds of art, marketing and teaching. Translating his artistic vision through his passion for impressionistic plein air paintings, you’ll find his work hanging in local galleries and at venues throughout the Pacific Northwest region.