For those of us that come from outside of the art and design realm, the notion of being able to discover and use a range of images that excites you on to a canvas or collage sounds like a whole bag of fun. To do that while actually being a part of the art world must be heaven, and that’s a somewhat incorrect but kind of correct way to explain Robert Waltzer, known online as Bowery Bob.
While artwork and design are what you’ll come across the most when looking him up online,
Bob is actually much more of multi-medium creative. The aesthetic-orientated talent has a number of other ventures under his belt, from clothing brands to a burgeoning social media presence. You may actually recognize his name alongside his then partners for (what’s now regarded as) the old school streetwear brand PEGLEG NYC–which managed to get the attention from the likes of Opening Ceremony and United Arrows. His more recent venture includes his collaboration with These Americans, a brand by Doug Rickard where Bob worked on hypersexualized graphics; a range of voluptuous babes coming out of retro computers–a Weird Science-type fantasy we’re sure we’ve all had.
To get to know Bowery Bob more, the myriad of creative outlets he works on, as well as just what on earth goes on behind the mind of someone that puts a horse, a bear, a leash-bound velociraptor, the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, a snowy mountain, a basket of healthy groceries, lava, the galaxy and much more into one sort of cohesive image, we decided to sit the man down to ask him of such things. Below you’ll find out how and why he does what he does, as well as a glimpse at what we can expect from him in the near future.
For starters, if you were to sum yourself up as a brand, how would you describe yourself?
I think everyone and everything has become content producers and thus brands; big brands, personal brands, etc… It’s a product-orientated world perceived through images on so many different platforms. For me, I’d like to put forward beautiful and thoughtful things that elevate culture.
To bring ourselves to where you are right now, where are you? And what have you been doing as of late?
Im in NYC. I don’t think I’ll ever leave. I’m making art and interesting things, while trying to work more in the VR space.
You’ve got a keen eye when it comes to sharing visuals that catch our attention. If there was a criteria for what you post on you Instagram, what would it be?
You kind of nailed it. I want to post things that catch attention and that are visually intriguing, while remaining thoughtful about the aesthetic significance.
Going into your artwork, how does a piece start? Do you see the end result and aim for that, or is it more a collection of the material first that you then build on?
It depends on the medium really. It differs from drawing, painting, digital or experiential. I generally have an idea of the end result, but will add things as I see fit.
Without sounding cliche or common here, but what kind of messages are behind the collage pieces that you do?
I want them to talk about myself, my experiences, how I perceive things, and I want people to find something familiar and exciting inside of it. I try and use images that I find interesting or conceptually meaningful, but in the end I want everything to be able to stand alone for its composition and formal value–in an abstract sense.
As for the visual material that you use, where do you typically source your content?
oh jeez, it’s endless… Weird image sharing platforms or Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, 4chan, Google Images… or just simply the internet. I also pick stuff up while I’m walking around and constantly take photos of things or books, and source later. I take clippings from the NY Post a lot. That stuff is great–halftones are beautiful when done right.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Hahaha… pretty normal U imagine. I go to my office to work on commercial projects. Drink beers with friends. Work on stuff at home. Read/devour things on the web. Kiss girls… Rinse and repeat.
What gets you pissed off, and contrarily, what are you all about right now?
Ambivalence and indecision make me livid. Losing people I care about is also really upsetting. I think the DIY culture is pretty cool. Everyone should bootleg everything and make it the way they want. I am pretty excited about VR, AR, the IOT, AI and the metaverse.
If you could have any skill at an ultimate level, what would it be?
I would be a master developer. Or well versed in multiple languages.
Lastly, where is the near future taking you? Is there anything big that you’re working on that you’re able to share?
Im doing some cool shit with my niche creative agency–ill keep you guys posted.