Robin de Lavis

I have deliberately chosen the road less traveled in life. For five years in my early 20’s I lived ‘off the grid’ in a small one room cabin at the end of a half mile trail shared with bears and cougars. I had no running water, hydro or telephone and didn’t drive. This was a challenge when I also had two children under the age of five. However, it taught me a lot about nature, silence, adversity and the resiliency of the human spirit.

After returning to a more urban environment I decided it was time to return to school. Instead of embarking on a long-term formal education in the arts I began with Fine Arts majoring in painting. I then began to become drawn to 3-D form and apprenticed to master ceramist Wayne Ngan who taught me discipline and attention to detail when doing my work. Able to pursue personal work in a friend’s studio I experimented with various glazes and sculptural relief pieces. When I felt I had drawn from the work what I needed I then apprenticed to goldsmith Kurt Morrison. Although I created wearable jewellery I was once again more interested in the sculptural aspects and possibilities of fine metals and stone.

In the mid-1990’s I returned to school to learn design and computer illustration and then in 1997 was awarded a scholarship to study Byzantine Icon writing under Iconographer Vladislav Andrejev who had moved from St. Petersburg, Russia to the United States in 1980. Thinking I was finished with formal education I was surprised in 2001 when a talent scout for Vancouver Film School awarded me a full scholarship to the school to earn a Diploma in Classical Animation. This was a life changing experience, not only because of the technical skills needed to animate, but because out of economic necessity I lived for the entire time in a one room walk-up in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. It opened my eyes on many levels to the social, economic and environmental challenges facing us today.

All these experiences are the bedrock upon which my art is formed. I vacillate between formal graphic illustrations to expressionistic abstract painting. I need to dance between these two approaches to exercise my mind and then release my spirit in the simple joy of painting for paint’s sake.