Robert Cottingham was born in Brooklyn, New York. He studied art first at the Brooklyn Pratt Institute and later at the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena. His early career as a graphic designer led to an interest in signage and lettering, while his admiration for another New York artist Edward Hopper influenced his use of light and shade to create mood. He is one of the most important photorealist painters, a style which developed during the 1960s, having assimilated photography into his paintings. He is particularly known for works depicting urban America, including signs, storefronts and buildings. Cottingham uses his camera as a sketch book and photographs of his subjects as a base for his art, expanding on the images rather than merely replicating them. For him the letters and numbers of commercial advertisements and signs represent a visual language illustrating the American way of life. Everyday images are transformed by the artist, using a grid method in which he projects a photographic image onto paper, creating a drawing to determine the proportion and size most suited to the image. This is then followed up by paintings in watercolor or gouache and sometimes prints. Often he will produce several re-workings of the original image in different media including lithograph and silk screen. Robert Cottingham was elected to the National Academy of Design, first as an associate in 1990, then as a full Academician in 1994. His works can be found in every important gallery in America and a retrospective of his work was exhibited by the Smithsonianin 1998. More recently his work has derived from the components in machines such as cameras and typewriters, using paper models to determine the objects' geographic angles. In 2012 he completed a series of lithographs depicting ‘An American Alphabet’ and featuring individual letters of the alphabet taken from commercial signs. Less
Robert Cottingham was born in Brooklyn, New York. He studied art first at the Brooklyn Pratt Institute and later at the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena. His early career as a graphic designer led to an interest in signage and lettering, whi More
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