Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Robby Robinson - An inspiring Artist.

Yesterday I received the following message from bodybuilding legend Mr Robby Robinson:

"Your success makes me proud. You found the passion in art to make a name for yourself. The key is the fight inside of you. You are someone that I would want in my foxhole. I checked out your blog. Your work is extraordinary! You obviously found your passion. Kids need to hear more positive accomplishments not just in the art of bodybuilding. Much continued success.
Best wishes, peace, ROBBY"

I was so inspired by his comments that I feel compelled to write something about it. Robbys words are very profound indeed. 'The key is the fight inside of you' How true this is. Artists need to nurture their talent to keep it developing throughout their lives. This is not easily achieved and it's something professional Artists need to take on board.

Robby Robinson at 61 years of age still has the Olympian physique of an incredible athlete. He knows perhaps more than anyone, how to win those inner battles, how to stay focussed, motivated, determined and inspired over the course of a lifetime. But what has all this to do with art?

Robby Robinson is an artist of the highest caliber, who over decades of intense work, has created a living masterpiece of human sculpture - himself. Not only has he created it, but he has continuously worked on it and improved it over more than 40 years. The drive to create something beautiful exists within the hearts of artists and bodybuilders alike. It is no suprise to me when I discover with amazing frequency, artists who started out as bodybuilders. The two are more closely linked than is at first apparent, and much can be learned from someone like Robby Robinson.

He got me thinking about inspiration itself and how very important it is. What inspires me and keeps me going? well obviously trekking for tigers or setting out across the frozen wastes in search of polar bears is incredibly inspiring.....

But Robby has reminded me of something else, something quite different that is easily overlooked:

We are collectively inspired by the deeds of others, and when we learn of great achievements we are uplifted and inspired to greatness ourselves. How many masterpieces have been inspired by Rembrant or Beethoven? How many Champions were inspired by Ali? How much courage has been instilled in men by Churchill?

It's good to have heroes, as we all benefit from their reflected greatness. Great deeds, and great achievements are infectious and this makes them even more precious than if they were merely to exist in isolation. Kids need heroes, they need to hear of positive achiements, they are the lifeblood of the human story.

I have always had heroes to inspire me and drive me to greater and greater efforts. I was born with a burning desire to achieve greatness at 'something' I just didnt know what that 'something' would be. I wanted to leave my mark on this world and looked around me for heroes.

I tried many things from writing and art, to martial arts Boxing and Bodybuilding. Art seemed too obvious at first, I was always the best in the class, and to a young man it didnt quite equal the appeal of being a sporting superstar, there didnt seem to be the challenge I craved. ( How wrong I was in that! )

( emulating the late great Bruce Lee in 1975, and in 2001, a humorous stand off with supermiddleweight champion of the world, the dark destroyer Mr Nigel Benn. )

Robby Robinson caught my eye as an incredible character and I trained fanatically with a grim determination to build a physique that would equal his, eagerly reading everything I could on his training routines and dietry discipline. It was a very happy time of my life and one that has done me perhaps more good than any other. Genetics were not in my favour however, and when it became clear that others were considerably more genetically predisposed to the sport than I was, the passion deserted me and weight training simply became a hobby and a means of fitness rather than a lifes passion. The end came when one day I showed my training partner a portrait I had done of Arnold Schwarzenegger. His jaw dropped, he turned to me and said "If I could draw like that I wouldn't waste my time in the gym" At that very moment I realized that the obvious had been staring me in the face all along - Art was where my true talents lay.

My bodybuilding period was a very valuable lesson in life and a very positive experience however. It gave me great personal discipline and set me on a course for health and youthfulness which I am now enjoying as I head towards 50 years of age. This is a particularly good thing for artists, who spend far too much time sitting down. They can benefit greatly from a bit of physical discipline. I am so glad I absorbed the positive healthy way of life that Robby Robinson taught me all those years ago.

He never knew it, but simply by doing what he does so well, he had impacted upon my life in a very positive way. I cant tell you how proud I was to receive his message and even moreso, to learn that he is still going strong at 61, inspiring a whole new generation of people to improve themselves and follow a positive path in life.

He still inspires me today, and instills in me the will to be the best that I possibly can be, and to dare to think, that my efforts will in turn inspire others.

Thank you Robby, and if ever we were together in a foxhole, I would not let you down. :)


At 5:04 pm , Blogger Sandpiper said...

I think your training partner did everybody a huge favor, if it sent you full force into your artwork. It's really very beautiful, showing great attention to detail. It's all wonderful, but I really love the African animals. I've visited Africa and fell in love with the amazing creatures there. I visited your blog and art website the other day and tried to leave a comment, but Google kept giving me error messages. I'm so glad you came to visit my blog today, so that I could be reminded to come back here. Thanks for the nice comment you left there for me. It made my day!

At 9:46 pm , Blogger Sonia Acone said...

I'm replying to a message you left on my blog about self-publishing. Thank you for the inspiring words. I visited your blog and all I can say! I was a wildlife artist as well, pre-children. I still dabble when I get stuck writing and wolves are my favorite. I've done tigers and cougars as well, but yours are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for your blog. I need to get back to the "wild" once in a while.

At 3:55 am , Blogger Patrick said...

Nice words about Robbie Robinson. I admired him too. I believe John Banovich is a bodybuilder turned wildlife artist, then there's my great mate Leigh Rust, then there's you of course, and someone else, er who? Oh yeah- ME! It seems it's a common thing for us weight pushers to try and balance our lives off with artistic and intellectual ambitions. As Juvenal said "Mens sana in corpore sano" - A sund mind in a sound body. By the way, I was the South Australian powerlifting state champion in '99 (mind you, I was the only one in my weight division haha)

At 10:07 pm , Blogger Steve said...

That guy is huge, he makes those polar bears look tiny.
Did you ever see Rudy Nebres's work on the comic 'The deadly hands of kung fu'?


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