Click portrait to access the interview
Rob Anderson is a master realist with a remarkable ability to capture human emotion through his drawings and paintings. His compelling attention to detail, composition, value, color and delicately rendered surfaces demonstrate a vision that is both unique to his perspective and universal to the human condition.
Rob created the iconic poster for the 1982 Gay Olympic Games, now called the Gay Games, but is better known for his series of drawings depicting the Great Frieze of the Pergamon Altar (now in Berlin, Germany), which led to an exhibition at the Pergamon Museum and the subsequent publication of a folio of the drawings.
Rob has been living with HIIV for over thirty years, and his on-going multimedia installation project Rattlesnake in a Moving Car: Life with HIV began as a personal quest to understand why he was still alive and healthy. The project saw Rob record the oral histories of 20 other 'long term survivors' as he drew their portraits, which are the central features of the installation. A sculptural framework of metal embossed with a rattlesnake pattern surrounds the portraits and is inscribed with the participants' words, linking them together. The title of the work was inspired by one of the project participants who compared living with HIV to driving with a rattlesnake in the car: the challenge, he said, is to keep the snake calm and contained in the passenger seat where it won't cause harm.
Rob discusses the Rattlesnake project, and his life as an artist and long-term survivor, in his interview with Paul Sendziuk, accessible from this page.
'Three Goddesses Subduing Giants' [from the 'Pergamon Altar Frieze' series], charcoal pencil on handmade paper, 23" x 31", c.1998-2002.
'Rattlesnake in a Moving Car' [installation detail], charcoal pencil on paper, frames and metallic sculpture, portraits 27" x 27", 1996-2011.