Having recently wrapped up his latest art show, Rob Rock is a teacher, a husband, a father, a curious mind, and is first and foremost an artist.
Rock is employed at Hagerstown Community College, Carroll Community College, and Frederick Community College. Subjects he has taught include art history, art appreciation and humanities, drawing, three dimensional design, and painting.
Rock says that he has been drawing since he was three, living in Waynesboro, PA, and has experimented with various types of media. “I like everything,” says Rock. “I play around with everything.”
Having worked with ink drawing, ceramic, oil, and acrylic paints, Rock’s work from his latest show were all painting done in acrylic. He says that he prefers to use acrylics over oil paints, as “oil takes too long to dry.”
Rock was a cartoonist at The Herald-Mail for several years following taking some art classes at Edinboro University, in Pennsylvania. The Herald-Mail is a Hagerstown based newspaper located in Western Maryland. According the Herald Mail Media official website, “about 20% of [their] newspaper readership is in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The newspaper is distributed in all three states, with the most circulation in Maryland.”
After focusing on his three children’s home schooling, Rock went back to school getting his Associates at Hagerstown Community College, his Bachelors at Frostburg State University, and his Masters at Mc Daniel College.
Rock’s two daughters, 25 and 22, his son, 23, and his sister all pursued degrees in the arts as well.
While he loves teaching, Rock confessed that it would be great to just do art for a living. However, as it is widely known by all interested in pursuing the arts, it is hard to find someone willing to buy work for the price it is worth.
From March 5 to April 2 the most recent fruit of his artistic efforts were on display in the Kepler Visual and Preforming Arts Center on the Hagerstown Community College campus.
The pieces featured in the show, “Works Completed while Abducted by Aliens: New Artworks and Other Nonsense,” are described on the Hagerstown Community College website as using “abduction by aliens as a metaphor for viewing society from a distance, the way a stranger or an alien would.”
As described by Rock in his artist statement that was displayed with the show, “The series range from brain-pattern analogies to mythological themes set in Hagerstown to a take on same-sex marriage.”
Rock also explained the theme of alien abduction, though used mostly as an attention getter, also applied to the idea of an outsider’s perception. In his statement he said that “the works combine to create a general statement about our perceptions as a society and what we consider beautiful or controversial or just plain dumb.”
“I have no idea where [the idea] came from.
Lots of people ask that, but I’m not sure,” Rock said in reference to the theme of perception. He did say that he had been reading a lot of philosophical books on perspective and how they forced him to look at things from a distance, which fits nicely with the show’s topic.
All of the pieces in the exhibit we done without reference, preliminary sketching, and were entirely from Rock’s subconscious memory. “No models, no sketching, just paint on canvas.
It comes out as it comes out,” he said, expressing that he was not a fan of photo realism. Preferring abstractions, Rock believes that the viewer should be able to look at the painting, see the strokes, and tell that it was painted.
With the exception of a couple of the pieces on display, all of the works were completed within roughly a month of the show’s opening day. Rock described his process of having to do each of the brain pattern abstractions one at a time, due to space constraints. In the summer, he said, he takes the pieces outside to dry, however since these were done mostly in the winter he has to wait for each piece to dry before putting it aside to start the next.
Rock says that in lieu of a home studio, he usually works in what is a combination of his wife’s office and a library room. However he did confess to having done a good bit of work in his living room.
Currently Rock is working on writing a book about today’s perception of art. He described the book as being “a semi-satirical look at what is beautiful today” and that it will be written for the general public.