In the Art Studio with Robert Shields

Robert Shields is a mime, turned actor, turned artist. Well, that is not exactly right. Robert first became well known all over the world  as THE  San Francisco Street Mime in the 60′s and 70′s. Then he joined up with dancer Lorene Yarnell. Together they created and starred in their own TV variety show: Shields and Yarnell.  But he has been an artist for far longer than that.

Robert says that he has always used art and mime to express himself. In his words, “Mime came naturally to me- more natural even than speech.  Art and mime were my best friends.”

He describes his art as a “Celebration of Imagination”, adding that his artwork is both “silly and serious”. His colorful paintings are infused with personal stories told with humor.

I asked Robert how he manages to do it all- promote, sell and continue to paint a tremendous amount of product. He told me that it would be impossible without his assistants.

This is Robert’s main paint studio. He designs, paints and sells metal, resin and wooden art online as well as at art shows. This part of the studio is a glorious mess. You can see from peeking over his shoulder that his chair, pants and the floor around him get splattered. He REALLY gets into the paint.

"Robert Shield's art studio"Above is Robert’s secondary studio. There is a huge easel just off camera range where he does most of his canvas paintings. Another fascinating note to Robert’s studio is his wonderful collection of old toys and memorabilia. It is a total eye-candy feast to be able to poke about, spying rare gems everywhere you turn. Robert has traveled the world, so his collections are amazing.

Below are some of Robert’s paintings on canvas, resin and metal. The metal is cut from Robert’s own drawings. All of Robert’s 3-D pieces start with his pencil sketches. When you go to his shows, you will see far more than what I can represent here. He is one prolific artist- the variety in design is staggering.

"Robert Shields art"

Robert is also a proficient and talented potter. The masks on his wooden art figures are handmade of clay. These cool figures start with commissioned wooden bodies that Robert then embellishes with paint, his clay masks, beads, feathers and little strips of leather. He tells me that he is anxious to get his kiln out again but, as it is for all of us, time is a concern.

I asked Robert how he manages to keep track of everything in his studios, especially since he has multiple rooms in use. He said that his only studio organization tip is  to group like items with like items. Also, he has multiples of the same items that stay in each studio space so that they are always within reach.

Finally, I asked him what is next from his studio. He told me that he is working on a series of animal-artist paintings. He showed me some of the first paintings. There will be lots of different breeds represented, so it should be fun for collectors. As always they are painted with loads of color and humor.

You can see more of Robert’s art on his website at:

And his online store:

You can find out where and when Robert will be showing his work here:

***Next week, I’ll take you on a tour of Robert’s jewelry studio.

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