About 25 years ago I found myself with a real need to paint. At the time, I
had no art supplies – all I had was a bag of potatoes, an ink pad, and some
paper. I cut a potato in half, pressed it on the ink pad, and began to paint with
the potato. I’ve been painting with potatoes ever since, though now I dip
them in a shallow bowl of sumi ink. For every sumi painting that makes it to a
gallery wall, I’ve discarded a few dozen paintings that didn’t make the cut. I
enjoy the spontaneity and surprise of working/playing with potatoes. I really
don’t know what will happen, or what will emerge from my subconscious and
show itself as a work of art.


For about twenty years I tried off and on to paint Pittsburgh landscapes,
destroying every failed attempt. About four or five years ago I stumbled upon
making oil pastels on tarpaper landscapes, and decided I actually liked them.
I’ve recently upgraded to using Sennelier oil pastels on canvas or
canvasboard and applying a black gesso ground. They’re child-like and
folksy, an idyllic take on Pittsburgh’s hillside communities.


Lastly, the large abstract/geometrical piece, “Rebirth”, points me in a new
direction. For years I’ve been wanting to create a type of visual music.
“Rebirth” is a hybrid of Folk Art and Op Art, by way of the Indian Yantra Art
tradition. Using a palette of 70 colors, I find that the painting is always
moving, that my eyes will capture different patterns and shades with every
glance, which, for me, captures in a small way the temporal, ethereal nature
of music. Although it may look random and chaotic, paradoxically, every
triangle is a deliberate, conscious decision. Enjoy!

Bob Ziller, Rebirth 72 x 72.jpeg