Wilkinson Studios, Inc.

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Biography for Robert Gunn
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I was born in Washington D.C., but at a young age my family relocated to Kansas City, Kansas. When I was about five years old, my family noticed my artistic proclivity. My grandfather was a professional artist whose illustrations would accompany reports and articles for Kansas City, and my father was an architect, so my talents were recognized and encouraged. Even without the advantage of familial support, I believe I would still probably have ended up with an art career, as I'm extremely self-motivated.

My first job was caddying at a golf course, although after a while I needed a change, so I moved to LA, where several of my buddies lived. A friend of mine worked at a small design studio, and so when I went to visit I brought some of my drawings. When the art director owner was drafted, he picked me to do some graphic design work in his absence. I had considered pursuing art at the college level, but hadn't really looked into it because I knew it was going to be expensive and I had to support myself. After almost a year at the small agency, I went to a larger agency, where I met a freelance illustrator. He encouraged me to bring my portfolio to be considered and take classes at the Art Center College of Design in LA, which was the extra push that I needed. Then, as luck had it, I found out about the agency's policy that paid the tuition of employees seeking higher education.

I went to the Art Center part-time for three years while working. Initially I concentrated on design classes, but then moved into drawing, illustration, and painting. My artwork is definitely influenced by old-school, turn of the twentieth century artists of the Rockwellian period, such as Bill Parish and M.C. Wyeth. When I was in college developing my style, a classmate commented that there were some similarities between my art and Norman Rockwell's. At the time I wasn't familiar with him, but it piqued my curiosity, so I checked out a book on him and indeed, our style did have some similarities.

My artist friends then started a design studio in San Diego and invited me to come and illustrate for their studio. I went, but about two years later, they wanted to move the business up to LA, based on the fact that most of our clients were there. I wasn't interested in returning to LA, so I packed my bags and moved back to Kansas, with the intention of eventually moving out to New York. I started receiving commissions in Kansas, plus I had family in the area, so I stayed. It was great freelancing, being able to be at home with my wife, raising our children. I'd be in the studio working, and the kids could comedown and hang out.

These days I take on a variety of projects, from farm scenes and landscapes to vintage poster art to advertising art. After 35 years in the business, I'm looking to branch out by developing my fine art. In spite of the economy, fine art seems to be holding strong, since some are looking at art collection as an alternative investment, a hedge against inflation. Becoming a collected fine artist requires mostly talent, but with a little luck and good timing thrown in, you can have it made. I'm currently working on some Western pieces, which I hope to debut at shows, competitions, auctions, and sponsored galleries.

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Published Books

The Choctaw Code
by Brent Ashabranner (Author), Russell G. Davis (Author) cover illustration by Robert Gunn BJU Press

Wilkinson Studios, Inc.  1121 East Main St. Suite 310  St. Charles, IL 60174 USA  1.630.549.0504