Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept 2011 Featured Artist Dan Robbins, Creator of 'Paint by Numbers'

The Art of Framing: Framing DIY Art
The elusive nature of art captivates all of us at one time or another in our lives, and many people seek the peace and sense of accomplishment that producing their own work provides. This spirit was tapped back in 1950 when Dan Robbins helped to create the first Paint by Numbers kit in cooperation with Max S. Klein, the owner of Palmer Paint Company in Detroit. At one point as many as twelve million paint-by-number kits were sold per year. Though demand dwindled in the late 1950’s, Robbins’ designs have since become both collectible treasures and the subject of museum exhibitions, often as sociological artifacts.

A commercial artist, Robbins has always recognized that what he does straddles the line between art and craft, but he’s rightfully proud of this. His work has allowed many who would not otherwise have the expertise or time to paint to enjoy a creative outlet. And who’s to say how many budding artists were inspired to great things through his kits?

Gone But Not Forgotten by Dan Robbins
In March of 2001 The Smithsonian Museum opened an exhibit called “Paint by Numbers: Accounting for Taste in the 1950’s.” For the exhibition catalog, Robbins designed an image called “Manhattan Skyline” to appear on the inside front and back covers. Later, the image was to be made available as a paint-by-numbers kit, but September 11, 2001 made the project, whose image was dominated by the Twin Towers, impossible. Robbins has since re-imagined the design, this time with the Towers ghosted. A portion of the sales of “Gone But Not Forgotten” will help support the non-profit organization “Voices of 9/11,” a group which advocates on behalf of those families affected by the tragedy.

We are honored to know Dan and feature his work on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.


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