We had the good fortune of connecting with Robbie Kaye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robbie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has been essential all my life. Every achievement, artistic endeavor and every time I grow as a person, is connected to risk. Whether it’s risking by trying something new, making that call, putting myself in front of people or taking the time to dive into my mind and soul, risk always produces the opportunity for me to learn, expand and course correct if need be. When I was younger, I didn’t even know I was risking things and still, there’s a part of me that doesn’t see the risk sometimes, which in some weird way has protected me. The lack of fear sometimes was the very thing that got me through a potentially uncomfortable situation because I didn’t play into that fear. Some people might see me as irresponsible or impetuous because of the risks I’ve taken, but I don’t regret taking any of them. In fact, in a way, I wish I was as spontaneous and courageous now as I have been in the past….and perhaps I will be again, soon! Obviously, there’s a time for logic and practicality, but overall, when I let my fear of risk get in the way, I stop moving forward. These days, the risk is about ‘being seen.’ This is ironic since everything I’ve ever done has been about being in front of people… sports, music and speaking to groups about my work. I actually love speaking… especially when it is something I am so connected to. When I was in my early twenties, I did a ropes course and we had to climb a mountain, literally, with a rope around our waist and get to the top. I took a route that was off to the side, knowing it might take me a little longer, but proceeded with that route. When I got to the top, it felt amazing… I never lost the fear as I was climbing and it showed me that I can do things even with my fear. Now, I put my fear in my back pocket and do the thing anyway. My truth is, when I am risking and living outside my comfort zone, as scary as it gets, it’s exhilarating and I feel so alive.
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.
Given the present-day circumstances and this pandemic, I am learning that we, all artists, are in the same boat… wanting/needing to express and create in order to process and thrive. I’m proud of three art/photo projects in particular. The first is the photography project entitled, “Beauty and Wisdom,” which is a series and a monograph of photographs of older women, accompanied by essays of other women. This project gave me the opportunity of being an advocate for mature women, lending a voice to those who paved the way for the rest of us and as a result, they became more present in a youth oriented society. I felt this work was extremely meaningful, not just to me, but to others, and that feels purposeful. My dream was to have these images on a billboard and last year, that dream came true. I am most fulfilled when my art has purpose…. to evoke, to heal, to uplift. The second monograph, “Endurance,” photographically documented three oak trees in the Santa Ynez Valley, CA. As a former NYC dweller, I am a happily converted nature lover and sharing these trees and their beauty in all seasons was a gift to share. I named the trees, “Solitude,” “Majesty” and Magic.” The last project I feel especially connected to is my most recent artwork, “Aftermath.” As painting, either with resin or acrylics, is a relatively new medium for me (about 2 years) I have spent many hours creating works that-well-didn’t work. When I had to quarantine and sequester myself, I had a lot of time to think… to stop… and be still enough to deep dive into my heart and soul. My father passed in mid-February so I was processing that before the pandemic came to view. After about 3 months, and a text from one of my mentors, who sent me a message about some artwork she thought I would love, I was instantaneously inspired and went into my studio and created work that kept flowing out… over 30 pieces in 3 weeks. What I love about this project, is that the work was created from a clearing of sorts… a healing and a peaceful place…a surrender. I didn’t attach anything to it… I just let it flow and the muse was very very kind to me. As a self-taught painter, this felt really wonderful. What I want the world to know about me is that I am on the same journey they are on. That life is my classroom, my work is derivative of the lessons I struggle with, the ones I learn and my love to share beauty. My goal to inspire and ignite a feeling in the viewer and an invitation for interpretation as well as contemplation. It might seem like things come easy… but what comes easy, at least for me, is always preceded by hard work and commitment… to overcome, to learn and to leap.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love playing tour guide! First, we’d get up early, see the sun rise over the mountains at one of my favorite places to walk… amongst the oaks, where the cows sometimes visit. Then I’d take them to breakfast at Baker’s Table, or maybe drive to Los Alamos to Bob’s Well Bread… both places are unique and have fresh and delicious food. I’d stop by Global Gardens and have them to an olive oil tasting at their beautiful farm stand. On the days to follow, we’d drive up north to Cambria, Morro Bay so they can get a dose of Hwy 1, then drive across Hwy 46 to get that incredible view and through Paso Robles…. this way they’ve had a bit of ocean and country. On another day, we’d go up in a glider plane to see the beautiful valley from above. We’d hang out here at home in the evenings after going out to dinner or drinks at SY Kitchen or the Gathering Table in Ballard, where they have the most delicious hamachi appetizers. (You can take the girl out of NY but…) At night, after dinner, if I didn’t cook, we’d come back home… and sit outside… maybe light a fire. My husband and I have created a bit of a shangrila in the back of our small home… trees, bushes, flowers and sun umbrellas with party lights and lots of seating and an outdoor daybed…. the place where I meditate every morning. Which reminds me, maybe I’d take them to one of the amazing yoga classes that the valley offers… and don’t laugh, but I might even schedule in some “art time.” I’d give them a canvas, some paint a bit of direction and then let them create whatever they wanted… a handmade souvenir of their time here with me…. something that they created. I actually did these things when 4 New York girlfriends (from High School) came to visit me a couple of years ago…minus the glider plane!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are numerous people who have mentored me, and still do, and to single one out is simply impossible because each one has been essential to the growth in my life and career. Recent mentors are Pam Fischer Dale, Liza Zhurkovskaya, Deb Davis, Phyllis Johnson, who I know (all) in person. Other mentors who I study from are Pema Chodron, Matt Kahn, Brendon Burchard, Eckart Tolle and there are others, but these are mentors that are always present in my arsenal of self-growth tools. And of course, the love and support from my husband, family and friends has been insurmountable. They don’t just deserve a little credit… they deserve most of the credit…because I could not accomplish what I have, so far, without them. As far as books…. just to mention a few, “Everything is Here to Help you,” Matt Kahn, “The Motivation Manifesto,” Brendon Burchard, and any book by Pema Chodron or Eckart Tolle. There have been so many mentors along the way… there has to be… because when you realize that the way you are thinking is on a deep level, at first, you think you’re crazy…. and then you start reading books by people who know exactly what you feel and how to deal, and suddenly, you (I) have a committee of mentors… guiding and supporting me.