Robert Pennix - Photographer and Visual Artist

Art: Robert Pennix born in Lynchburg, Va. started drawing at a very young age he has worked in many mediums. While in high school Robert was influenced by his instructor to recognize the importance of color, perspective, shading, and shapes. This served him well in his college years. He excelled in all of his fine art classes, winning awards in oil painting, drawing and photography. Robert worked for a couple years as a freelance artist. His freelance work also included several mediums. Over the years Robert has had a successful career as a Culinary Professional while continuing work as a pencil and pastel artist on commission basis. His warm and lifelike portraits hang in homes throughout his regions. He pays close attention to the subject in order to achieve likeness and expression that is distinctly characteristic of the individual.     

Photography: Robert’s interest in photography began in college. After college he worked for a short time for a design company developing film and creating backdrops for table top photography. Never putting the camera down Robert used photography as way to record the subjects in his portrait work. After numerous shots he realized the camera was an instrument that could be used to record subject matter that is a product of his everyday life and travels. He started to venture out with the intention of discovering things that draw his attention. When one studies his photographs, it becomes obvious that the subject matter is secondary to his innate understanding of composition and arrangement. Photography has unleashed a level of creativity that he wants to share with others.

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When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

“An Artist is just who I am.” I don’t remember the day when I decided to be an artist I just remember always being an artist. Professionally I worked a couple of freelance years after college. Throughout the years I have only worked on commission request. About two year ago I decide to pursue art professionally again. 

How does your personal story/background influence your work?

I grew up in a rural county just outside of Lynchburg. The people I admired where the people who rose above their difficulties. I have always been interested history. So if I am not working on a personal portrait for someone I will choose a historical figure to draw. It does not have to be documented yet.  It may be someone who I think is making history now. Also growing up in a rural area I like the effect that the seasons has on the landscapes. Even in the snow the air is so clear the mountains almost seem touchable. 

Which of your works are you most proud of?

My proudest piece of art work is my first commission oil portrait. I had worked for years doing pencil & pastel portraits. I received a request for a large oil portrait. It was challenging but worth the learning experience.  (I believed I underpriced it –also a learning experience)

What is the hardest part about being a professional artist? 

Marketing yourself and staying relevant. Most artists are introverts.  

What artists inspire you?

Kelvin Okafor :
Simmie Knox: 

What advise would you give aspiring artists who come from minority or other under-represented groups?

The love of art has no color, no class distention, and no educational requirement. Passion prevails in your work; keep working they will see the real you. There is no prejudice once people know who you are.  Prejudice is a preconceived emotion that is only change by the individual.