Robert Yoder | The MiND of a Creative Inspiration

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Robert Yoder is a people person. He draws his inspiration from the people he admires and continually strives to surround himself with like-minded individuals.

The simplicity of Robert’s work portrays an escape from reality. Shutting off his mind to his work and the world around him, Robert uses art to depict his introvert personality. Through the use of color or lack thereof, Robert creates paintings that are structured and bold, representing the rawness and ‘punk’ aesthetic that they hold.

MiND took a closer look at Robert and his work, inspirations, and concepts, to see the story and mind behind the art.


Robert Yoder

What inspires/influences you in your artwork?  How do these inspirations translate into your artwork? – culture, background, daily life, imagination, people.

ROBERT YODER: I find that the work of other artists is a constant motivation to me. After a few years of hard work, it is easy to think that you are always working and always on top of things, getting things done, and working stuff out. The reality for me is it can be easy to want a day off. I find seeing others work towards a goal makes me want to join in, to be a part of a community that is doing something constructive and artistic. It’s not a competitive thing, rather it is wanting to share a common value with those I respect and admire.


Being an artist, what is your personal outlook on life?

ROBERT YODER: It’s funny but this question makes me feel very old and very young at the same time. In a way, I think my outlook has always been to enjoy what you have and never stop working towards what you want.  As an artist perhaps this outlook is a bit, Pollyanna. I see myself and others envious and even resentful of artists with success while we fail to acknowledge our own accomplishments.

This is something we bring onto ourselves. We all want the attention and accolades, and frankly, there are only so many art magazine covers available for any one of us to appear on. There are so many artists now and we all want the review, the show, and the collector’s attention but there just isn’t enough space. I have re-examined my criteria for what I call success and now I can focus more on my community and how my work fits in and enjoy that future.


What role does art have in society?

ROBERT YODER: Art can have a full range of impacts on society. From the unnoticed design of carpet patterns that help hide dirt in busy common spaces, to monuments that inspire us to live better and help others live better too.

Robert Yoder

Do you believe art can be an inspiration in the retail industry and environments?

ROBERT YODER: I think art, combined with light, space, and music can enliven the retail experience and offer an additional adventure to the customer. This is not something available to online shopping and the creative industry will always have this to offer.


What is the conceptual content of your artwork? What word would you use to describe your work?

ROBERT YODER: It is no longer a question of refusing on principle, it is now for the sake of self-preservation.

Although I am fully invested in the final imagery, I experience a detachment from the work and feel emotionally evasive throughout the creation process. It seems I’m always thinking about loss, and how that crushing melancholy just seeps into every action and object. I am withholding and introverted, and my disconnection during the art making process feels natural. There is a weird notion of anonymity I’m trying to maintain.

I don’t purposefully think in terms of autobiography, although there have been a few veiled self-portraits along the way. They act as some extension that has a better grasp on the balance between nuance and blatancy. I have introduced large amounts of black into the paintings and what little color I do use is often dull and dirty. The density of these works creates a roughness and adds a punk/SM aesthetic to the overall collection.

I am drawing again directly with paint from the tube onto the canvas; and on paper, directly and indirectly with simple transfer processes. My art education has deep roots in craft and I am exploring how my imagery can operate as a monogram and as evidence of a persona by way of embroidery on towels. They are hard, graphic and unapologetic with their subject matter and intention.

Robert Yoder

“Recreating it meant not duplicating the doodle, rather I needed to duplicate the general emotion”

What piece of your artwork do you most identify with or defines you as an artist?

ROBERT YODER: It’s not a piece of artwork at all, it’s just a simple doodle. Years ago I was toying with the idea of helping a friend design a tee shirt and I drew out two words on a Post-it. I wasn’t sure at the time I made it, but I knew there was something there that was speaking to me in terms I did not understand. I tried to recreate the doodle on canvas with oil paint and quickly learned that direct transfer was not what was going to work.

The doodle had a looseness, a roughness and a simplicity that was lacking in previous work. Recreating it meant not duplicating the doodle, rather I needed to duplicate the general emotion. No easy task and something I’ve been working towards since then. I still have the Post-it and I still look to it for answers.


What would you like to achieve/make people feel when they view your artwork? 

ROBERT YODER: I’m not necessarily making angry paintings, or gay paintings, but if you see some of that there I’m glad. When I look at artwork that I really enjoy, I may see a little of myself but most often I don’t see myself, rather I see what I can be. I hope viewers can do the same when looking at my work.


What do you believe creates a value in art? Aesthetic, craftsmanship, the gallery, relevance to the market, reputation etc.?

ROBERT YODER: As an artist I would have to say I place value based on emotion. It may be random and arbitrary and selfish but it is the one tool I trust.

Robert Yoder

How do you see art evolving?

ROBERT YODER: We will have new materials and new methods of presentation but more importantly we will always have someone trying to make a connection with someone else.


Best piece of advice you have ever been given…

ROBERT YODER: Make work that is about you; that is about things that you know and is about things that you experience.


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