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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Streetwear artist and UA alum Slobby Robby pulls all mediums together


    Hot dogs, cocaine and fuckin’ Andy Warhol: synthetic glamour for mass consumption is the stuff from which art is born. The superficial day-glow pop of the Americana kitsch defines popular culture forevermore in the tastily provocative subject matter served up by Tucson artist Robert Hall.

    Hall, known locally as “Slobby Robby,” rips apart toys, screen prints fast food iconography and throws massively wacko parties for Hotel Congress.

    He is wonderfully weird; his art is the crème de la crème of raw popular culture. Now working primarily in toy art, installations, found art objects, printmaking, 3-D sculptures and events, Hall graduated with a degree in printmaking from the UA in 2012. Never mind his near-expulsion — Robert Hall is a haute dog.

    “My toy shit is the new Andy Warhol to me,” Hall said. “Like, instead of painting Marilyn Monroe’s face, I’ll just rip Marilyn Monroe’s head off a doll and glue it on a lizard body, and represent Illuminati and Marilyn Monroe.”

    Addressing and accurately depicting “the Real” is not so much a concern in his art as shamelessly portraying a slice of life.
    “If there’s something I’ve found, two things that make people really uncomfortable is when I talk about shoplifting and when I talk about cocaine,” Hall said. That’s straight from the artist’s mouth. Socially acceptable or not, his art is all his own.

    “Half of my art is based around my ego,” Hall said. “If I could, all of my art would just be my face.”

    Using points of reference from his studies in art history has allowed Hall to produce his own artistic flair in a challenge to the academic setting of art.

    His prints of girls doing cocaine and feeding it to each other crossed a few lines, so to speak.

    “I was really hitting close to home with some of the drug use,” Hall said. “The art wasn’t about ‘what if,’ the art was documenting what was already going on.”

    It wasn’t intended as propaganda, he said, but as commentary on the beauty of free-spirited abandon.

    Unorthodox subject matter aside, his work with the Wildcat Print Association, which is no longer, was an overwhelming success, earning him a position as Hotel Congress’s art coordinator. He has since created epic art installations for Congress with kooky concepts like hot dog pyramids and Star Wars-centric, iconographic madness.

    “As an artist, I think it’s kind of cliché to try to make someone uncomfortable,” says Hall, “but it’s also kind of cliché to purposely do something too comfortable.” His art is meant to be an experience, not a pretty picture to ogle.

    With his penchant for popular culture, Hall’s recent work with vintage toy sculpture has caught the attention of national audiences. In collaboration with Josh Flood, a Tucson graffiti artist, he is creating art for the satirization of plastic consumerism.

    Crafting large crosses and sculptures from dismantled toys, figurines and odds and ends, Hall makes pieces that are jarring, intriguing and like nothing else.

    “It’s referencing the world we’re in right now, where everything’s ripped up and put back apart and put back together, but still with pop references,” Hall said.

    Nostalgic and bizarre, even reminiscent of American possession mongering, Hall’s art only reveals half of the artist. With his unabashed convictions, Robert Hall is himself an icon of popular culture. “Do whatever the fuck you want,” he said. “That’s the bottom line, man.”

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