After years of studying illustration and a successful graphics career, Hinds found that he was attracted to three dimensional work. He gave up his career to concentrate on sculpture.
Living and traveling in Europe for ten years gave him valuable exposure. He found special value in studying the traditional skills involved in lost wax casting in Italy, creating and working at an art foundry at Bologna.
He also spent some time working for the United Nations in the Caribbean, teaching and directing the production of art and handcrafted objects based on the local ethnic traditions and history in under-developed countries.
Hinds works mainly in bronze. His art is owned by private collectors in the U.S. as well as in England, France, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Check out Hinds' sculptures in our collection.
From an interview Lawrence Matthews conducted with Robert W. Hinds in 2008.
LM: You began your artistic career as an illustrator. How did you become interested in sculpture?
RH: Well I had to have models for the illustrations and so I made my own. If I needed a cowboy I made him out of clay and drew from that.
LM: Then you gradually stopped doing illustration.
RH: I suddenly stopped – I went to Europe and never came back.
LM: Well, we’re glad to have you here in Santa Fe now. Was there something about Europe that inspired you?
?RH: I got a chance to see what I’d never seen before. All the art in places like Rome and Venice.
LM: Did you live in Italy?
RH: No, I used to go there and have my work cast but I lived in Spain, on the Costa del Sol.
LM: Who were some of the influences on your work?
RH: Well, you go through a growth period as you see different forms of art. I remember when I was an illustrator, for instance, I liked Thomas Hart Benton.
LM: Some people have said they’ve noticed modernist influences on your work, specifically Rene Magritte. Like in the series you did of men in bowler hats.
RH: That’s probably where that series came from. Also, I’ve always wanted my own derby but I’ve never had one.
LM: In some of the work there’s a surrealist feeling.
RH: That’s just the way I personally look at things. I think that way, and I have to consciously tone down that influence in my work so its not overpowering.
LM: You create both large and small sculpture. What’s the major difference working on small pieces as opposed to large pieces?
RH: I do the small pieces in order to see what they might look like larger. Also, I have so many ideas that I want to get them sketched out as it were. Working small allows me to do that. The problem is I’ve done so many small pieces they are everywhere – all over my studio.
LM: Was it difficult to begin sculpting?
RH: Sculpture always seemed out of reach at first.
LM: Why do you say that?
RH: Well it is impractical, especially if you want to eat.
LM: Is that because there is generally a smaller audience that appreciates sculpture?
RH: A lot of people just don’t understand sculpture.
LM: Obviously you overcame your initial concerns about becoming a sculptor.
RH: Well I drew and painted for years but I was never satisfied with it. I wanted to get on the “other side” of the work. I saw all of the “flat” art I made in 3 dimensions. It became a compulsion to turn those paintings and drawings into sculpture. I still wake up at night and I’m already at work, I can’t get back to sleep. I’m so into it I can’t separate myself from it.
LM: Are there some themes that you keep showing up in your work?
RH: Survival. Keep your sanity and survive. Just look at the world and what man is doing to himself. I sometimes think when this planet goes kaput all my work is going with it – it will be buried in the ruble. But it’s interesting, like in Europe, in the ruins, the thing that survives is art.
LM: Aside from the fact that art its what you do and you have devoted a major part of your life to it, why do think art is important??
RH: Art is all that survives, its like writing my name, saying I was here. But I’m not doing it for anyone else. I’m doing it because I have to do it. I’m glad if someone else likes it but I couldn’t get away from it if I tried.
LM: When you look at other artists’ work…?
RH: I don’t!
LM: You don’t want to be influenced?
RH: Exactly. Also, I spent a lot of years looking at art but now I’m too busy working on my own ideas.
LM: What’s a working day like for you?
RH: I work all the time. I have more ideas than I can ever produce so I am literally always in the studio. When my wife and I go out I’m always looking at my watch and wondering when I can get back. To make art you have to be devoted to your work.