Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Brooke Robbins

1. How did you decide to become an artist?
My desire to be an artist was greatly influenced by my grandmother, who is an artist as well. She encouraged my creativity when I was very young and we found a bond through drawing. With the support of my family behind be I started going to art school in fifth grade and haven't left. When I was younger I thought about being other things as well, things that people told me were more sensible and stable. But my passion for art found a place above all of that and I decided wholeheartedly that this was what I must do to be happy in life. I have found that being an artist is not unstable because it stables me, and that art survives even through the worst of times. There are hard times in any profession one chooses and the way to survive them is to love what one does.

2. What kind of work as an artist have you done so far, and what other work have you done?
I worked primarily in drawing and painting until I came to UNCSA my junior year and had sculpture. Sculpture was really where I discovered that my passion as an artist was to work on a large scale and affect the environment around me. I realized that set design was my perfect niche, full of collaboration, story telling, and enormous design opportunities.

3. How did the Kenan Fellowship contribute to your development as an artist?
The Kenan Fellowship has offered me a chance to explore with less worry, which is invaluable to an artist and a rare delight. Because I am financially taken care of in my college education I have been able plan things like a trip to Spain and New York City. As an artist, traveling and seeing feeds my imagination and adds depth to my work. These experiences would be impossible with out the help of the Kenan Fellowship.

4. What is the most memorable and positive experience you had as a Kenan Fellow?
All of my time at UNCSA has been memorable and it's not even over yet! One of my most memorable times this year was working on the winter opera, Devil and Kate it was hard and long hours, but I found that the work I learn as a stagehand in invaluable to me as a designer. I gained more knowledge about rigging, moving scenery, and a lot about space and how little of it we sometimes have to work with. The teamwork and community that develops by working on a show together always amazes me.

5. What was disappointing or frustrating to you about the Kenan Fellowship?
What is disappointing or frustrating to me about being a Kenan Fellow is that I wish more could have the opportunity that I have. The five of us each year are incredibly blessed, but I know so many people who feel equally as grateful with even a little bit of help. Since our rigorous schedules do not allow us a normal job I know that for many, going to UNCSA is a struggle.

6. What are you planning to do next in your artistic career?
When I graduate UNCSA, I hope to have the opportunity to design a show for children or work with a children's theater. The wonderful simplicity that children's tales offer allows the designer to really support the story and build a world for imagination. I have always been enchanted with children stories, and fairy tales and the way that they so easily slip in and out of reality. There is something incredibly inspiring to me in the freedom of a child's mind and the willingness to believe.

7. How does your art relate to your family and community life?
I have a very supportive family and would not have gotten this far without them. I believe that art is necessary for a thriving community and I hope that UNCSA has offered that to Winston-Salem. I have spent the summer at the Franklin Stage Company in Franklin, NY and have seen the influence of the theater here. People travel over the mountain from neighboring towns and cities to see the summer theater because there is such a human desire to share entertainment and thought together in one space. Even with all the other forms of entertainment offered, theaters still thrive because it is a direct sharing of ideas from people to people and there is truly nothing like live theater; anything can happen and every show is unique.

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