Robert White Bio
Unconventional, multitalented, extraordinarily gifted - these were just some of the compliments bestowed on Robert K. White, a self-taught artist whose professional career spans more than 35 years. Blessed with incredible versatility, White’s collected works span the gamut from landscapes to interiors, still life’s to seascapes, and reproductions to photographic realism. Known around the world, White’s art is a key element in commercial buildings in Spain, Italy, Egypt, England, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States. White is comfortable working in a variety of media, including oils, watercolor, acrylic, clay, bronze and wood.
White’s endless creativity springs from a natural restlessness. “I’m the kind of person who always wants to be making something,” he says. “It’s part of my nature.” White credits the Renaissance artists – Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to name a few – with inspiring him to pursue an extensive variety of artistic interests. “They did everything. They worked in clay, cast in bronze, did etchings and paintings, not just frescoes but also on canvas and wood. Back then, that was the education of an artist.
A native of Salinas, California, Robert was only in kindergarten when his artistic talent was first recognized. “Someone gave me a ball of clay to work with,” he recalls. “That opened up a whole new arena for me.” Unfortunately, White was unable to attend art classed to hone his skills. He and his five brothers and sisters came from a very poor family that couldn’t afford such luxuries. Instead, White learned the craft on his own, poring over art books that featured American, European, and Renaissance masters. He spent hours studying different styles of painting. “ My parents took me to museums,” says White. “I was glued to the paintings until I could figure out how they were done. I learned what elements the artists would use to produce certain effects in their work.”
White didn’t seriously consider making a living from his art until he was in his twenties. At the time he was producing drawings of animals and detailed portraits using watercolors and pen-and-ink. Upon a friend’s recommendation, White built a portfolio and visited a number of fine art publishers in Los Angeles to see if they wanted to include his work in their books. Their positive responses convinced White that he could support his family by doing what he loved best.
Because he was proficient in so many types of art, White wanted to concentrate on a particular niche, at least for the time being. Coincidentally, a client asked him to reproduce a classic piece of art. As White recalls, “He asked me if I could make a copy of a very expensive painting. For insurance reasons, the owner couldn’t display the original in his office building.” White was fascinated with the history behind the painting and the artist that had created the original work so many year before.
White took the commission and soon found himself with a brand-new career. For the past twenty years he has supplied the corporate and commercial markets worldwide with a steady collection of lush art work that accents design schemes in office buildings, hotels and casinos. White has painted murals and corporate art on commission for clients like Bank of America and Nissan Motor Company. His artwork graces prestigious hotels like the Ritz Carlton, The Four Seasons, The Fairmont in San Francisco, The St. Regis and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California.
Robert’s impressive list of clients past and present includes President Ronald Reagan and Hollywood luminaries John Wayne, Harrison Ford, Steven Speilberg, Steve Martin, Cher, Michael Douglas, John Huston, Tony Randall, and Victor Mature.
“It’s a business and it’s a skill, but most of all it’s what I love to do.”