IN ROB’S PORTFOLIO you'll find sketches and paintings inspired by wild swims around the world. Discover the scree-wrapped lakes of the Atlas Mountains and the murky branches of Australian billabongs.
But Rob’s first swim/art exhibition was inspired by somewhere closer to home. It started when he swam the 9-mile length of Lake Ullswater - his favourite lake in Cumbria. From a young age he’d wondered how it would feel to swim it from end to end. Then he secured an artist bursary award from VARC (Visual Arts in Rural Communities) and finally completed this ambition. He used the experience to create a series of abstract pieces. In this series he experimented with geometric symbols that referenced the visual cues of the landscape, as well physical and psychological aspects of training.
In his work he experimented with different forms and ideas of journeys to structure the series. He traces a line through a landscape and follows that course to experience a place physically, mentally and emotionally. He then maps this journey artistically.
Literature, art and travel are important influences in Rob’s life and work. He also focuses on rewilding processes and the protection and preservation of the natural world and the animal kingdom.
Rob’s artwork has been exhibited in Berlin, London, Newcastle, Kendal, Istanbul and Toronto. His work is also featured in private collections throughout Europe, the US and Australia.
SWIM WILD ILLUSTRATIONS
Rob created this series of illustrations for the upcoming Wild Swimming Brothers’ book Swim Wild. These are rough copies offering an idea of the style he chose to match the narrative. These include a map of the Corryvreckan, three hand drawn portraits of the brothers and digital sketches of lion’s mane jellyfish...
GREEK ISLAND SKETCHES
Rob’s sea swims were made around the Greek islands of Paxos and Anti-Paxos. The warm water was a welcome change from the cold Arctic. At the end of his swim he sat down to sketch, riding the post-swim endorphin high as he recorded his experience.
THE FERAL SERIES
The Feral Series was inspired by rewilding. It was Rob’s tribute to the idea of reintroducing animal species that have been pushed into extinction (or extremely dwindling numbers) through hunting and habitat destruction by humans.
ARCTIC SEA SKETCHES
In 2016 the brothers travelled into the Arctic Circle and completed two swims across the Moskstraumen and the Saltstraumen - the two largest whirlpools in the world. These maelstroms had never been swum by anyone before. For the longer 8km distance of the Moskstraumen, the boys spent 2hrs and 22-minutes in the icy water. These drawings are records of this experience.
LAKE ULLSWATER PROJECT
These artworks were exhibited during my solo show at Kendal Museum. They are structured and inspired by the 12 km/7.5 mile swim I completed in Lake Ullswater, Cumbria, where I grew up. I always wondered if it would be possible to swim it from end to end. With an artist bursary award from VARC (Visual Arts in Rural Communities) I completed this ambition, and created this series of artworks to describe the experience.
REINE HARBOUR SKETCHES
These are Rob’s early morning sketches of Reine Harbour in the Norwegian Lofoten Islands, where the still waters are lined with stilted rorbuer (fishermen's cabins), seahouses and drying racks.
Here are a few photos from the solo exhibitions Rob has put on in London, Berlin, Newcastle, Istanbul, Kendal, Toronto and other places. One of his earlier exhibition pieces was a large scale drawing inspired by Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
You can find more of Rob’s artwork by diving into his website portfolio.