Robert Girandola, Yardley Member Since July 2008 Artist Statement Robert Girandola has been drawn to art from an early age. His first ‘waking memory’ is drawing a whale. Just six or seven years old, he recalls his father asking him if he would like to try his oil paints. He jumped at the chance and hasn’t put down the brushes since. In addition to his natural talent, Girandola would spend hours every day painting or drawing. His hard work paid off early when as a teenager, "The Paint Box", oil on canvas, was chosen from artists across New Jersey, to hang in the final exhibit of the Teen Arts Festival at the NJ State Museum.
In addition to his love of painting and drawing, Robert loves science and philosophy. ‘I wanted to know everything about the human form.’ he explains, regarding his decision to study biology at Fairfield University. He worked on chemistry, cellular biology and calculus during the day and painted at night. The art department noticed his work, and awarded Girandola his own studio for independent study. At graduation the up and coming artist was awarded a rare honor afforded a science major, the Fairfield University Studio Art award.
Following college, Girandola worked as a research scientist applying his knowledge of molecular biology in the cutting edge field of immunodiagnostics. The work was fascinating but his passion for art was not satisfied. Robert applied to a graduate MFA program at Columbia University. One of just twenty-four artists selected, he enjoyed two exhilarating and intense years studying art. Top contemporary artists visited weekly, including Elizabeth Murray, Joel Shapiro and Gregory Amenoff.
Upon completion of his MFA, Robert was further recognized by renowned writer and art historian Rainer Crone to show in ‘Art of the New’ in NYC. In early 1990, he helped coordinate an exchange of art and artists with the now defunct Soviet Union. In an incredible journey that had a profound impact on Girandola’s view of the world, he made his way from West Germany, through East Germany, across Poland and a good portion of the Soviet Union. Robert was one of the first Westerners to pass through the smashed Berlin wall. Images of isolation and desolation haunt him to this day. ‘I had little idea, really, little true appreciation for the power of ideas, the power of freedom.’
Robert continues to earn critical recognition. He has been chosen twice to participate in the prestigious ‘Art of the Northeast’ in New Canaan, Connecticut. Most recently he was chosen to design a bronze 9/11 memorial tribute honoring four firefighters who perished in the North Tower. This piece is now on permanent display down near the WTC.
As an emerging artist gathering admirers internationally, Robert considers his art to be an important message, challenge and responsibility. He delivers the message, challenge and responsibility artfully. In Robert’s own words, ‘There has been a poignant thread that runs through my adult life tying it all together. I am continually more involved in creating works that touch on freedom, spirituality and overcoming self-limitations. It's my intention to contribute to the body of work that awakens the soul to itself.’