We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Robby Gordon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Robby, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I have always had goals in my life, I’ve always been very driven. However, I truly believe that the key to my achievements has been the fact that I’ve never felt permanently or irreversibly attached to these goals or their performance. I always knew what I wanted to do, without being attached to the result. I’m a perfectionist, but I believe that if something comes out differently from what I initially had in mind, then it was supposed to be that way. I’m open to the fluidity and uncertainty of art and its outcomes. Layer upon layer of my work is infused with different energy and psyche — I want to create a piece that I cannot myself trace back to its synthesis. That’s what has made it possible for me to achieve whatever I wanted in life, without being upset along the way if things didn’t work out precisely as planned. I enjoy the beauty of uncertainty and change and don’t allow myself to be restricted by the limitations of a set template. Working this way means that there is no limit to my creative process.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an entrepreneur and an artist. I am the Founder, Director, and Curator of The Hollywood Sculpture Garden. I am a painter, sculptor, designer, and I work with ceramic and glass, and also have a line of painted clothes. I am a Board Member and a Trustee of the Craft Contemporary museum. I am an active member of several art groups here, including FOCA, GAS, GALA, as well as other museums around the world. Originally a veterinarian by profession, I am also an investor and financial consultant. I was born in Israel and lived also in France and Italy. I love all of these cultures, especially their art, music, food, and liberal political views and lifestyles. Paris will forever be the capital of the world for me — I am a true Francophile at heart. I still frequently travel the world and am always sure to seek out the museums, galleries, and private studios of each place that I visit. I usually plan my trips specifically around the dates of certain art shows and expos: I always attend Art Basel Miami, Art Basel in Switzerland, FIAC in Paris, Frieze London, Frieze New York, Biennale in Venice, Documenta in Germany, Zeva Tari in Israel, and, naturally, all the main art shows here in California, alongside an assortment of other art shows across America. I am very spiritual and studied a lot of the Eastern philosophers, in particular Krishnamurti. I started off with a small sculpture garden at my previous residence in Irvine, before moving to Los Angeles. It took me two years to scout out a place that had a big enough lot where I could see the potential for a bigger sculpture garden. Once I had found this place, I started step-by-step, first putting up my own sculptures, and then recruiting other sculptors as well. By now, we have more than 100 sculptures around the Hollywood Sculpture Garden, by over 50 different artists, who submit their sculptures from all over the world. We’ve represented sculptors from Italy, Argentina, France, Sweden, Belgium, Mexico, Chile, and from most of the United States. We also have a special program for artist residencies and internships. Sculptors from all over the world are invited to apply, being welcomed to join and create their sculptures here, with my help of providing materials, tools, and workspace. In essence, we give artists the space and the environment to express themselves freely, as well as a beautiful and popular location to display their final works right here in the Hollywood Hills, below the famed Hollywood Sign. We have a good track record of selling sculptures and getting commissions for the artists that have their work on display here. I am constantly grateful for what I have achieved in life, so I try my best to develop and share creative opportunities with others. We even have a cross-cultural art exchange program, our last project being between the US and Mexico, Argentina, and Belgium; coming up, we will have an artist arriving from Chile. These are all things that I genuinely love doing, and I hope to contribute as much positivity to the world as possible. The Hollywood Sculpture Garden is a popular backdrop for photoshoots and film productions. It is also a venue for a range of events, such as fashion shows, weddings, and private parties, as well as a site for Popup art shows and performances. I also create and display my own art here. In fact, the interior of my house is set up as a gallery, displaying my own work: walking through, you’ll experience an eclectic and colorful array of art forms. You’ll first notice that there is art on every wall that you turn to; larger pieces take up a generous amount of floor space throughout the house; all of the furniture was designed by me, including chairs, sofas, and the master bedroom furniture, amongst various other things. I have every intention of ensuring that none of these 3000 sq.ft. are wasted. I even designed the kitchen counter to match the dining room table made of fused glass. Looking at the attached photograph of the kitchen and the master bedroom, I’m sure it won’t escape you that my favorite color is blue. As you may well have picked up, I enjoy being multifaceted in terms of my creations — most people know me as a painter and a sculptor. However, I do indeed also have a clothing line (“DARE TO WEAR BY ROBBY”), which I like to describe as “wearable art.” The collection includes hand-painted ties, hats, shirts, pants, jackets, suites, and shoes, amongst various other accessories. They are not merely eclectically-painted and flamboyant items of clothing — customers know that each piece is unique, and equally intended as an object of art to be displayed in their homes, as well as a piece of art to be worn and shown off in public. Several items have been worn to well-known events, such as the Oscars and the Grammys; on occasion, you’ll also see a selection being displayed at fashion shows. Myself, I have a selection of my favorites that I love to wear when going out too.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It goes without saying, I would start with the art museums: I’d hope to cover at least the LACMA, MOCA, Craft Contemporary, and The Broad, plus some other galleries in town. Next, we would dine at one of my favorite French restaurants here in LA, a choice between La Poubelle, Papilles, La Provence, or Le Petit Paris. I would then take them up to the Hollywood Sign to admire one of the best views of LA. I would also take them on day-trips around town, at least including Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Downtown LA, as well as along the coast to El Matador beach and Point Dume
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this ShoutOut to every single person and life-event that has brought me to where and what I am now. However, I cannot list every single person, so here are a few names that I’d like to mention specifically: firstly, my dear son Grant and his wonderful wife, Nina. Both of them are very active socially, and helping the world to become a better place, which is very important for me. I am excitedly awaiting becoming a grandpa in March! Furthermore, my daughter, Glenna, carries the artistic gene too, which she expresses primarily through photography. She is an award-winning documentary photographer, photojournalist, editor, and educator. Secondly, to artists that influenced me, which include: Pia Frieze from Switzerland, Chris Mercier from LA, Joseph Newman from Santa Fe, and Zack Smithey from St. Louis. I also want to give a huge shout-out to Angel “Ironman” Herrera, who is helping me by being the Manager of The HSG, as well as an extremely talented sculptor and good friend of mine — he has been, and continues to be, an invaluable helping hand in making this place a reality. Lastly, I’d like to thank Geneviève Federhen-Argueta, our highly multiskilled coordinator here, and overall advocate of The Hollywood Sculpture Garden and The Hollywood Gallery.
Other: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hollywood_Sculpture_Garden Latest video on The HSG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnCrSkIQjU4&feature=youtu