Meet the artist: Robert Lococo
Robert Lococo is a painter whose studio is located in the Bridgeport Art Center. I encountered Lococo at his open studio event last Friday. A patron of the Frame Shop, I was excited to see our frames accenting such strong painting panels. His work ranges from abstract, dark landscapes to portraits of parrots, to swift strokes of color evoking movement. Lococo graduated from the School of the Art Institute here in Chicago. I asked him a couple of questions to get to know him and his work a little more.
Where are you from? Has your background influenced your choice to become a painter?
I spent my earliest years in New Mexico, many in Colorado, and the last seven here in Illinois. I believe my proximity to the outdoors and frequent hiking and camping has absolutely influenced my choice to be a painter. it gave me more opportunity to absorb the sublimity of the natural world.
How long have you been a painter?
I don’t know how long I have been a painter because I don’t know when “being a painter “started. However, I knew that I HAD to pursue painting as a career the summer before I left for college.
What first got you interested in painting?
A man I looked up to, named Herman Raymond, a truly inspiring artist that was my mentor, told me that I should never give it up. It meant the world to me.
I saw you went to SAIC. How was your experience studying at one of the most prominent art schools in the US?
Studying at the SAIC was an eye opening experience. It was a world of art and thought that I had not seen before. It encouraged experimentation and honesty. Honesty especially- it was learned that criticism is the best thing for an artist.
Whose work do you look up to?
My absolute favorite artist is Winslow Homer- his water colors are just so… natural… and potent. But his piece: “The herring net” is the most inspirational. It is dynamic and the colors are just so real.
Where is your dream location to show your artwork.
I have humble aspirations for an artist. I dream that my art will find its place in the homes of people that can relate to and appreciate my art.
I met your dog while at the studio. How long have you had him? Is she a good studio buddy?
Chieko, my canine buddy, has been with me for two years. She is a great studio buddy. She will wait patiently while I create, but is sure to let me know when it’s time to take a break.
For me, your darker work is reminiscent of Caravaggio’s dark backgrounds and strokes. Is he an influence for you? Did you intend to have your imagery call back to an earlier time in painting?
Caravaggio’s art is a very interesting comparison. His art has a very different feel. Like an angst or a depression. This is the opposite of what I am trying to pursue. I look to endorse happy or sublime or simply awe. BUT yes! The drama of his art is amazing and in that sense does exactly what I am trying to do. The black that you disappear into compliments the light that brings you back. Am I calling back to an earlier time in painting? That’s an interesting idea that I will have to think longer on. It makes sense in the sense that I refer to the older artists when lost on my own process.
Your studio is located in the Bridgeport Arts Center. Has that location been beneficial to you?
The Bridgeport Art Center has been very good to me. It has a community that keeps me relevant and many artists who look out for the younger infant artists like me. I have not resided in any other studio building other than the school studios, but I like it- and that’s good enough for me.