Art collectors in twenty countries own Bob Killen’s fine art images, and he is one of the most highly rated, and sought after, Adobe and Fine Art Photography instructors in America. Bob combines his backgrounds in commercial photography, content development, and marketing processes, with state-of-the-art digital technology to create thematic images that explore western Americana with a vision that is beyond record. His principal work is to connect viewers to the desert landscape and a call for significant creative interaction with our obsession to abandon structures, places and things across a shared American landscape.
Bob is a National Park Service Artist in Residence and Artist Guide., an APA Leader, and the Adobe and Art Program Director for the California Center for The Digital Arts.
IN BOB’S OWN WORDS – A THEMATIC LIFE
“In my commercial artwork, I create single images that provide visual support for stories, or create a visual stimulus for a product or service. In my fine art, I live and practice a thematic life, which are visual studies that address social issues, graphic dislocation, subliminal thought, duality, reality, surrealism, and impressionism. Thus, as opposed to galleries, I arrange my online and brick and mortar exhibits by theme, and my artist statement for that theme appears below the images.
I live the thematic life because, in my view, Fine Art Photography is not about what we see, but rather what we create from our seeing. It’s about expression. Thus, when an artist explores a theme and tries to exhaust all possibilities, he/she can transcend a subject, and force the facts to tell the truth, albeit with the artist’s interpretation.
The thought process and systems I use for fine art are similar to the ones I use for creative advertising and marketing projects. Thematic concepts come from everywhere, but in the early stages, they are often loose and fragmentary. Before I begin the capture workflow, I refine the theme through self-description and use a journal to record thoughts, sketch ideas, and expand the emotional range as I learn more about a given theme. Next, I will capture proof of concept images and explore them in post. Like writing, I often discover other avenues while exploring a theme in the concept stage, which can lead to greater or lesser potential. I generally evaluate my ideas and proof of concept images, post iteration with other artists and non-artists before deciding to continue a theme or deciding on the theme taking a particular direction. While external input is valuable, I make the go or no-go decision. Some things work well, others do not, and others remain as fragmentary subjects waiting for me to understand them.
As opposed to simply taking or making pictures for fun but for no specific purpose, themes help me channel my energies into useful, creative outcomes that viewers can understand and collect. That is not to say that I don’t take pictures for fun— I do it every day and it is through daily exploration new themes are born.
Respected as an inspirational creativity leader, he is a highly sought after workshop teacher, coach, and tutor. He is the faculty instructor and Adobe Curriculum Director at the California Center for Photography and Digital Arts (see: www.centerfordigitalarts.com). Killen consults for corporate art departments, and his credits include numerous trade and professional magazines such as Parade, Life, Look, Roto, and other rack publications. In 2008, Bob became the First Artist in Residence for Mojave National Preserve, a National Park Service Program. He also is an Affiliated Artist for the National Park Service’s Mojave Arts Program and the Artist Guide for the Desert Light Gallery.
Killen dedicates much of his work to National Park Service awareness, exploring the Mojave and other desert lands with his ongoing Back to Loneliness series, which explores public lands. Learn more – subscribe to his free blog, The Bob Killen Fine Art Photography blog.