Discovering The Nature Of Existence
I was born into a beautiful Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, in 1953. My father was a research chemist and my mother a writer. As a child, I was inquisitive about everything and asked all the impossible questions. My parents, I soon realized, did not have all the answers.
I spent my childhood focusing on my two passions: fine art and zoology. My six years in Hebrew school insisted that God existed, yet no provision to contact him was provided.
Growing up in the 1960s was a wonderful, turbulent time. Many were searching for truth, love, and God; though some found it, my search continued. In the 1970s, cults became very big. I was seduced by two of them. Cults offered people what the churches and synagogues seemed to lack: continuous love and acceptance.
By the mid 70s my search led me to martial arts, where at least I found an outlet for my frustrations. My master, a very bright and spiritual person, was a God-like figure in our midst. And if I couldn’t find God, at least this seemed like a viable alternative.
In 1984, while painting, I suddenly realized the hopelessness of it all. I remember weeping on the floor of my studio, crying out to a God I did not know. I asked him to show himself to me, right then and there. I figured if God exists, he could paint a painting through me with my eyes closed. To my amazement, he did. I painted a man’s face who appeared to be laughing, crying, dreaming, singing, sleeping and talking, all at the same time.
It was then that I knew for sure there was a God. But how do I communicate with him? Where do I go from here? I found a wild preacher on TV who got me interested in the Bible. On Easter Sunday 1984, he showed me how to know that Jesus was who he claimed to be. I remember taking notes and dropping my pen the moment I believed. I went to bed that night thinking, Wow! I believe Jesus is who he said he was,’ and getting up in the morning proclaiming, “Incredible, Jesus is who he said he was, I believe in Jesus!”
I realized what Jesus meant when he said, “No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). After I discovered that Jesus was the way to the Father and my sins were forgiven and the Bible was true and God existed, everything came into place. My art and life finally had a deep meaning and purpose. I had found peace, because I had found God.
Arthur Robins’s thoughts on art:
My work is religious, not in terms of “religion” and not iconoclastic, but in a truly personal relationship between me and the Creator. All art, in order for it to attain any innate value, must be created with the Creator. Any attempt to exclude his participation in the process will result in emptiness and failure. Every stroke, every idea, every approach that includes the Creator’s input, will be successful, inasmuch as an artist allows him to participate.
An artist can tap into the Creator’s vast eternal creative power subconsciously or unconsciously. But during and after 1984, my conscious effort to do this resulted in art that I was continually able to learn from, even years after its creation. Technically, I have hundreds (if not thousands) of “approaches” to my work. Just as the Creator approaches his “canvas” with new ideas each time, an artist who taps into this source will naturally try to do the same.
Over the years, I have discovered that, in a creative process that is in harmony and participation with the Creator, there are certain rules and laws. The rules can (and often should be) broken. But the laws must be kept. The laws may be bent but never broken. All laws are created by the Creator and are perfect. All rules are created by man and are flawed.
Finally, my art is not merely about how I “feel” or my “mood” or my own “opinion.” It is not transient or temporal or cultural. It is not stylized or iconic or superficial. All my work is an attempt to study how the Creator creates things, by allowing him to show me, through his direct participation in the process. When successful, this is the highest state of joy. Through this process, I discover what I think, how I feel about what I think, and how he feels about what I think. I believe that through this process an artist can learn about the very nature of existence itself.