Name: Robert Florio.
Location: Glen Burnie, MD.
Artistic Style: Mouth artist, Realistic portraits, and brilliant colorful scenery with dark contrast.
Bragging rights(Featured work/collaborations): My oil painting of former professional indoor soccer league Baltimore Blast Allstar Denison Cabral is currently on display at the Baltimore Sports Legends Museum. In the past, I was commissioned to paint a portrait of MLB legend Babe Ruth for the Babe Ruth Museum here in Baltimore, MD. I have also painted portraits for two former Baltimore Orioles, Jay Gibbons and Cal Ripken Jr. In fact, Cal endorsed my book. I am currently working on a painting for Baltimore Oriole’s second baseman, Brian Roberts. In 2010, I wrote and self published a book about my experiences called LIFE! It Must Be A Comedy. Since then, I have illustrated a friend’s childrens book and wrote one of my own.
What are your goals as an artist?: My goal as an artist is to relieve my stress and to help others around me see that I can do anything you can do (and sometimes better). It’s very challenging and sometimes harder for me, but after some success and a lot of progression I finally feel like I can do anything my imagination can come up with. I want to make money from my artwork but it doesn’t stop at drawing or painting. I also do music, comedy, videos, and modelling I would love to do some acting someday. I know that the things that I attempt to accomplish do not happen overnight and most people forget that.- Any topic of interest I have came about through years of progression. I enjoy when my friends and family can share whatever I create.
How did you come to find you could paint so well with your mouth?:
I was an aspiring artist before my injury. After the injury, I was looking for something to occupy my time and little did I know that I would unlock a hidden talent, painting with my mouth.
Favourite artist/why?: Leonardo Da Vinci is my favourite artist because he was the first one to think outside of the box without being persecuted for his thoughts and ideas. The hardest part about being an artist is putting your ideas out into the world for fear that others will not accept them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci
Do you listen to any music when painting/If yes, what?: Yes. I usually listen to something upbeat like rock music. When I need to slow myself down to work on intricate details, I listen to classical music.
Where do you ‘draw’ your daily inspiration from?: I am inspired by other people’s stupidity. They often overlook the obviousness of the truth of life. The hardest part about losing a large part of control is having the patience to tolerate other people because it’s frustrating to have to depend on others. Not everyone has the same vision as I do. I like to challenge myself. I am very perceptive of what is going on around me and I hope that my artwork will transcend.
If someone created a Comic about your life what would they title it?: Vibrant Rob. I would grant everyone three wishes but they have to live with the consequences of their wishes. I would fart $100 bills. When I cry, I am priceless because my tears are pure gold. I have the most amazing, positive attitude and it is impossible to make me sad. Even in my weakest moment, my sorrows are still giving. I have the ability to regenerate myself and others. Beautiful women shy away from me and the meeker women turn into supermodels. I am 6 foot two with long, dark hair, a red Mohawk a broad chest, and a pointy beard. I can fly but I don’t have a cape. I wear a clown suit minus the make-up My hands are soft but my fist can punch through ten inches of titanium. I rescue animals and find them all good homes and I have 10 wives. One on each planet that I visit. I have 100 kids and am forming my own superhero league.
How did you learn to draw?: When I was 16, I got my first mouth stick from a special education teacher that believed in me at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. One day, in his history class, he gave me a watercolour paint set and some paper. The next day, I came back with a realistic painting of a bonsai tree. I started drawing everyday for hours with my mouth stick. Seven years later in College, I took life study art classes and that is when my artwork rapidly progressed. This is when my skills took off and I began expanding on my portraits.
I see you have a lots of tattoos, is there any inspiration behind them?: When I started getting out of the house after my injury I met a group of tattoo artist friends. My tattoos changed my life by allowing me to express my feelings in a very unique way. I went through a pretty bad breakup. The sleeve on my right arm represents love, lust, passion, and dragons. I have dragon claws grabbing two bleeding roses and a journeyman’s maze inside the rose. My left arm sleeve is a design I created to go along with the dragon theme. It includes the stars, galaxy, and the universe all withpositive energy in yellow, orange, and red. Both tattoos are abstract creations. My right arm is a positive space while my left arm is designed in the negative space in regards to an art form.
Where there any defining moments in your life that have influenced your artistic style?: I like a lot of vibrant colours because it evokes a sense of happiness.
Likes: My favourite colours are red and purple but I am more attracted to red because it represents passion and power. I like chocolate ice cream playing my guitar, going to concerts, performing in comedy shows, and hanging out with my puppy named Red. My friends and family are very supportive and I get a lot of my inspiration from them. Will Farrell and Adam Sandler are two of my favourite actors. My favourite television show is The Family Guy. I enjoy painting portraits of animals, athletes, and superheros. Superhero movies capture my imagination. I like to stay busy and keep my mind on positive things.
Dislikes: I don’t like the pain I get in my neck because it slows me down when I am trying to complete all of my projects. I don’t like negative people who try to bring others down. I do not like how politicians spend millions of dollars on advertising when they should be giving that money to poor families. I don’t like mixing religion with politics and I feel that everyone should respect each others’ beliefs. I don’t like that stem cell research in the United States is too slow and the money raised for it seems to go no where. People with spinal cord injuries would benefit from this research. Assistive technology and and prosthetic development has gotten much faster. I don’t like care takers and nurses who sometimes take advantage of my situation. I have learned all my lessons in life the hard way that includes the dating world. There are too many double standards. You can never know who someone really is until you get to know them. Unfortunately my experience shows that women take less of a chance if you are in a wheelchair (unless you have money). However, a positive attitude goes a long way, but it wears you out if you are not successful.
Any thank you’s/shoutouts?: Thank you to my family, friends, tattoo artist friends, comedy clubs, and all my artist friends and supporters.