We recently connected with Robyn Thayer and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Robyn , thanks for joining us today. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative or artistic career? When did you first know?
For approximately 45 years I have been actively creating art -nothing has stopped me. I have my mother to thank for this. She introduced me to coloring, drawing clown face after clown face for me to color on airplane rides and through lengthy church services. She made sure I had supplies for each and every craft my grandmother (her ma) introduced me to. And, as I grew, my creativity grew, as did my mess making (essential to my creativity). My mother found ways to wall off areas for me to have my special nooks of creative space and uninterrupted mess, in each place we lived.
Once I was on my own, carving out a creative space was engrained in me, as was the necessity for continual art making. All of this was very organic, innate, and matter of fact. I didn’t consider myself an artist, it was just my way of life.
Later, awhile after college (I am a scientist by degree), a small gallery in my hometown suggested I make prints of my creations, that people would buy them. This is where my worlds collided and I began to murmur the word artist to describe something that has always happened for me, to me, and through me. I began to build a life more consciously around this growing awareness. As that happened, bigger, brighter works or art came pouring through me. I am still waking up to what the word artist means for me -holds for me. I do know that I paint as I breathe; it is essential to my aliveness. I also know shepherds and shepherdesses come in the most unusual, sometimes crooked ways to usher in my biggest lessons and amass my creativity.
I don’t know that I ever set out to pursue art as a profession. Cultivating inner peace and harmony inside the living room of my heart and watching how that steadiness spills over and touches another’s life is most prominent in my aspirations. Another word for this passion is Dharma (Sanskrit: life purpose). It just so happens that large, colorful, textured paintings are the result. Once I was onto this, I developed a business plan, with a hefty time management component, to keep creativity sacred, and delineate my professional roles.
I’m sticking with this way of life, nothing is more fulfilling, intimate, or vibrant than the way art making expands my soul. I cherish how I return to motherhood, service, marriage, and friendship after exercising my creativity. For this gift I am eternally grateful and owe my life.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Using rich layers and gorgeous color I build paintings. My strokes are loose, my work contemporary. Most often I cut up my paintings to put them together in new ways. I am a collage artist through and through, re-using the cast off parts, the glowing bits, and the mundane of a painting, in innovative ways, I make beauty and peace out of my life.
My maternal grandmother was instrumental in developing me as a crafter and my paternal grandmother taught me how to dig into the Earth. Following suit, my mother and father provided me respectively with glue, wiggly eyes, sketches, dirt, seeds, and adventure.
I grew up mostly wild in the magical woods and waters of Northern Minnesota, spending much of my childhood in my fabulous imaginary world, either at my crafting table or outside, in a boat, fort, or flower bed- where dreams, sky, and wind all caressed me with their lavish secrets and plans. Today I still spend summers next to a lake where great imagining happens, while digging my hands into the natural world and playing with my family. Winters are spent on a Mountaintop in my Colorado studio, translating my life into paint.
My art education is informal and profuse; a daily act. I am a prolific artist, with a wide array of interests such as; backyard chicken farming, embroidery, poetry, meditation, and cooking – which feed my painting style. My favorite artwork is large in scale, using acrylics, water-soluble graphite and crayons, to create representational, contemporary abstract paintings. In this way I am able to convey a dreamlike quality- reflecting the innocence and grandeur of where the private inner world and the wild outside meet.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
Myth: To be taken seriously in the art world one must have a degree in art.
Truth: Once I began to take my work as an artist seriously, a career was born.
Having a degree in art is not a prerequisite to pursuing an art career. I repeat that as many times as necessary. Art making is as natural to me as breathing; creativity has led my entire life. Living life to its fullest in many areas is what has enriched my art making. As I matured, I was eager to naturally seek out methods and tools to enhance my creativity. Looking back I can see how delicate I was as a youth, and had I not been so sheltered in my discoveries through art, my innate style may have wondered all over the place searching for itself and tried to conform to others. Instead what came through me, of me, was me. By the time people actually saw my work and bought it, my style was evident and the only thing that has improved is my confidence, techniques, and quality of materials.
Being immersed in the art world in such an organic, wholesome way, I gather knowledge in methods that constantly serve, nurture, and build my relationship to creativity. I have strong, healthy boundaries, developed with therapy and nature, to protect this exquisite bond I share with creativity, miming the literal walls my mother created early in my life to harbor and fuel my imagination.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
My work primarily is play! I get to work in glorious location, on top of a mountain, in a studio built and designated just for my creative endeavors. As I deep dive into my creative forays I am caring for my soul – art has always been first and foremost my soul work; my way of navigating emotions and circumstances in a form makes sense of the nonsensical, fills me with purpose, hope, and belief in a power much greater than myself. It is my church, the only religion that has ever truly spoken into my heart that makes me come alive and completely supports my aliveness. When I am in this place, rocking out, paintings happen. Those paintings carry energy from that place, far beyond worlds, into this one – and parts of me I hadn’t known to exist, awaken. I see and hear about this in my collectors too.
Paintings speak their own language to the people who see them. They keep speaking as we live with them, opening doors to our hearts in ways we maybe never could imagine. Putting pieces together for us in color and texture – this is a way our stories can make sense inside us. I get to be part of this!
As demand for my work increased, I was concerned I couldn’t possibly make more, but creativity isn’t like that. The more is eternal. Each and every time I engage with creativity another adventure leads me places I have never been before. For 45 years I have been creating and never has this been false.
- Website: RobynThayer.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robyn_thayer_fine_art
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobynThayerProfessionalArtist