Artist Talks: Robin Tarbet

Thursday October 17, 2019

We had a talk from video, sculpture and installation artist Robin Tarbet at the Academy this week. He shared some really interesting insights into his career as an artist with AAL students.

Having grown up in rural Wiltshire, Robin was inspired by natural landscapes and open spaces from a young age. He then went on to study printmaking at Norwich College of Art and Design. During his university explorations, he started to develop ideas around the notion of an illusion. The ambiguity of technological objects’ inner workings really interested him; he noticed how often we don’t know how the devices we use actually work. He began creating sculptures and installations which created an illusion of their inner workings.

Robin’s practice changed when he moved to London; he was influenced the by large scale infrastructure that surrounded him. He said “the aesthetic of my work is based on in-between places, places between the city and the countryside.” Robin found a lot of great imagery in places and objects that have a solely functional (and often industrial) purpose.

A lot of his practice involves low-fi video and photography. The featured photograph is a product of one of his installations, through which he took photos with a camera attached to a moving model train! He is drawn to the “painterly quality” of the burred, low-fi image.

He talked to students about the shift from art student to artist, reminding everyone that once you leave university you don’t necessarily have access to facilities and expensive tools (such as a printing press). He works around this by being incredibly resourceful, often using recycled objects and kit that he could “get from a toy shop.” Robin still uses all of the skills he learned at art school to “pay the rent!”

Thank you to Robin for joining us today and giving our students a really interesting perspective on life as an artist in the real world.