Robert Weatherford: a Telluride original

Robert Weatherford: a Telluride original

Img_2002The living room that looks like a small museum is in fact the studio of local artist Robert Weatherford, a Telluride original. (He paints at the far end of the room, not shown.)

Weatherford’s legacy is expressionism, a term describing a movement in art history in which traditional ideas of naturalism and representation take a back seat to exaggerations of shape and color. The point is to communicate with some urgency the artist’s emotions.

Feeling is paramount in Weatherford’s work, and virtuosic flashes just because he can, is the enemy.

The artist tends to hang his narratives on familiar objects such as his vast collection of tchotkes (bric-a-brac), floral bouquets, and aspen leaves. However, his images are never about the objects themselves. They are about the force fields emanating from the object.

“The objects in my work are talismans that invite me to show the world what they (the objects) know. My job as an artist is to surrender to their will.”

Img_3322When he is really cooking, Weatherford ratchets up intense to explosive.

The artist was born in Laredo, Texas, in the only Anglo family for miles around. A prodigy, by age five he was painting with model car paint. At 7, he became an abstract expressionist wannabe. By 11, Weatherford had completed over 100 images, his style clearly based on the expressively intense nature of the Mexican culture.

At 13, he crashed and nearly burned.

Years later, a friend at the Arts Students League in New York helped him into AA. As a last-ditch effort at conventional respectability, Weatherford put himself through undergraduate and graduate school to become a minister. A blackout drunk on graduation day, he finally had to admit out loud what had been secreted away in his heart: he would become a professional artist.
“Shortly after that incident, I applied to grad school at Claremont College.”

In 2002, Weatherford illustrated a children’s book, “Desert Dog,” about a feisty survivor like himself.

Weatherford first came to Telluride in the mid-1970s. Over the years, he has served on Town Council, chaired the CCASE (the Community Council on Arts and Special Events) and Historical Museum boards, and taught at the Ah Haa School for the Arts.

He is represented at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, but has dealers in Sag Harbor, New York and Los Angeles.

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