The powerful images of mixed-media artist Robert Sturman have a vivid presence that is both other-worldly and deeply rooted in the earthly wonders he has explored so adventurously in his global travels. A spiritual journeyer as well, Sturman is an intuitive creator whose works resonate with an inner vision as much as they reach out to embrace the viewer with tactile, richly hued physicality. Dappled with light, vibrant with texture, at once brimming with narrative voice and sensual immediacy, his art conveys the sense of a moment of a dream distilled so that its magic and mystery can be absorbed at will.
The official visual artist of 2005’s 47th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, Sturman has formal training as a painter and photographer, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Following his degree, Sturman completed a two-year apprenticeship with Carmel, CA-based master photographer William Giles, whose striking images have been said, "to have the impact of a Zen koan," a description that could apply to Sturman’s imagery as well. He also studied for two years at the Memphis College of Art under acclaimed Italian painter John Torina, whose ephemeral, atmospheric landscapes are echoed in many of Sturman’s works.
Sturman's body of work is comprised of a wealth of images taken over the course of extensive international treks. Each landscape, cityscape or captured vista is suffused with the essence of its place of origin, including visions of India, Rome, New Orleans, Laos, San Francisco, Cuba, and myriad more destinations. The artist's passion for Buddhist thought is reflected in a host of striking images including one of monks silently crossing in front of a Nepalese Temple, and his Jewish identity is explored in the piece "Perseverance: Portrait of a Surfing Rabbi," created after a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In listing qualities intrinsic to his work, Sturman has said it "is about emotions for which I have no words," and that can be felt throughout his oeuvre.
Many more of Sturman’s pieces portray musicians and musical instruments, his distinctive technique lending itself beautifully to the improvisational nature of musical creation. The image selected for the 47th annual GRAMMY Awards, "The Humble Heroics of the Musical Poet," is a dynamic portrait of a red-suited guitar player shot in the streets of East L.A. Alive with spirit and screaming with color, it embodies Sturman's stated desire to be "fearless in the expression of light."