Robert Shinn graduated with honors from Northside H. S. in Ft. Smith, AR, proceeding to attend Washington University in St. Louis, MO, where he received a liberal education in art and architecture. During his apprenticeships there, he began working closely with interior and architectural designers.
Living and working in Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, New Mexico and Texas, Robert developed a career path in the high-end residential construction industry, contracting house painting, wall covering, faux finishing, antiquing, stenciling & working primarily with interior designers and architects. He has created many interesting interior features for notable clients, including Carol Burnett, Gene Hackman, Opra Winfrey, Joan Tewksbury, as well as the head football coach at the University of Texas, Mack Brown.
Over the years he has successfully created artistic paintings, murals, sculpture, designs & numerous arts & crafts projects, with his work featured on the cover of Metropolitan Home (Carol Burnett) and in Southern Living magazine. Along the way he reconnected to his Cherokee roots on both sides of his family. Robert was not raised with Cherokee traditions, but working with leather and wood has been a natural passion for him - then in Santa Fe he discovered mask making, which opened up a world of experimentation.
Currently, Robert is focusing his creativity in the general area of mixed media “Assemblage”, specifically Retro-Futurism. Drawing inspiration from many sources traditions, he is fascinated by face painting cultures, outsider art, mask-making traditions, pottery of all the Native American cultures, graffiti artists, with a little Steam Punk and European architecture- both old and new, thrown in. He enjoys utilizing repurposed and recycled materials, not only because of the obvious environmental reasons, but how it connects him to the past. Treading lightly on the works of others he is particularly cautious about copying & prefers not to study the works of others, but rather to season his subconscious by simply looking. This method keeps his work original, interesting and free from repetition.
Robert Shinn has recently become a member of the Fayetteville Underground Gallery (www.fayettevilleunderground.com) and artist cooperative where his work is shown. As a tribally enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation some of his work is also displayed at the Spider Gallery in Tahlequah, OK. The SAVAGE ART GALLERY in Tulsa, OK carried his work until they lost their lease. He shows in regional markets including “Arts on the Avenue” and the Cherokee National Holiday “Homecoming Art Show“, both in Tahlequah, Ok, and the prestigious “SWAIA Indian Market” in Santa Fe, NM , The Chickasaw Nations “South Eastern Art Show And Market” (SEASAM) in Tishomingo, OK and the Cherokee Art Market in Tulsa, OK.
As an artist, Robert feels his process and use of materials are cohesive and he is excited to be deeply engaged in creating something fresh and new. A new freedom and joy in conceptualizing his vision has emerged.