Meet the Artist: Robert Urban

Meet the Artist: Robert Urban

Each quarter, we display work from a different local artist at our Spartanburg real estate office. From the end of September through December, Robert Urban’s nature-inspired pieces will hang on our walls. To celebrate his art, join us for an artist reception on Thursday, September 27.

Influenced by art from a young age, Robert Urban has always shown a talent and bent towards creativity. After his first class in sculpture at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts, he knew visual arts would be a major force in his life. His love for distance running and bicycling profoundly influences his work, which is heavily inspired by the outdoors. With a focus on acrylic glazing and large-scale, three-dimensional mixed media, Urban’s artwork is in collections throughout the Carolinas and beyond. Currently, he is using his master’s degree in art education as an art teacher at Dorman High School.

What piqued your interest in art?

I was fortunate to have several outstanding art educators throughout my adolescent years who fostered my development as a young artist.  My high school art teachers encouraged me to apply to the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts, and I was fortunate to be selected into the program. It was my time at the Governor’s School for the Arts that I truly recognized my passion for art and knew then that I wanted to be an “artist.”

How would you describe your style of art?

I describe myself as a landscape artist, but certainly not in the traditional sense of what we think. I think of myself as a contemporary mixed artist…someone who uses a variety of art media in an artwork. My work usually begins with a surface build up that involves layering of paint, paper, and other materials.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work?

A landscape setting I have visited will usually be the initial inspiration for an artwork, or possibly a whole series of pieces. Personal interactions within the environment – a bike ride, hike, trail run, park visit, or some other outing in nature – often serve as my muse.  I take time do something outside every day. It’s just something I have always done so it just seems natural that my art would come from those moments.

What’s your favorite piece of your own work?

That’s a tough question. I like different pieces for various reasons. If I had to pinpoint one, I’d say it’s an abstract piece titled, “Blue Sky Town” that has never been exhibited. I painted it for my wife, and it hangs in our bedroom. I see this artwork every day and I’ve become attached to its colors, marks, and layers. I keep saying to myself that I’m going to use that artwork as a jumping off point for a series of abstract works but I haven’t yet. One day I suppose.

What’s an interesting fact about you or your work?

The layering process I use to build up my works takes a lot of time. For me, that process is enjoyable because each layer is a reaction to the previous one. It becomes somewhat meditative for me.

What famous artists do you most admire?

That would be a long list! I like many different styles of artists for different reasons. A few famous artists that have inspired me include Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Anselm Keifer, Elizabeth Murray, and Andy Goldsworthy to name a few. Although not ‘famous’ as we know it, two fantastic artists who had incredible inspiration for me were Ansley Crawford, my high school art teacher, and Jim Steven, my closet art professor in college. Their encouragement had a profound impact upon me as an artist and art educator, but more importantly as a human being.

We look forward to admiring Robert’s work with you at our artist reception on September 27 from 6 to 8 pm at our Spartanburg real estate office located at 151 S. Daniel Morgan Avenue.

You can learn more about Robert Urban’s art by visiting his website,, or following Robert Urban Art on social media including Instagram and Facebook.