We had the good fortune of connecting with Robin Przybysz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve been teaching art for over three decades now, and will hopefully retire from the classroom in the next ten years. I wanted to be able to move from teaching to my own business in a smooth transition. I have always been drawn to the tactile arts. That is how I came up with my business name: Art in Texture. It’s the actual touch as much as the sight of the creation that brings me joy. . I love creating, and enjoy sharing my designs with others in a tangible way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Currently, I focus on my wearable art and my wood interactives. My wearable art came into existence when I collaborated with a team from San Diego Visual Network on a project Art Meets Fashion in 2011. There were eleven groups of four: artist, fashion designer, educator, and documentor. I happened to be the educator of my team, but was asked to create all the accessories for my group’s fashion line. I created handbags, headwear, shoes, and jewelry. It was out of the box for me, but I fell in love with creating wearable pieces of art. I have narrowed down my accessory line to couture, one of a kind, hand crafted, artisan handbags. I use a coiling method that is an ancient form of basketry. I wanted the function of the basket to cross over to fashion. I’ve had the opportunity for my handbags to go to fashion weeks in London, and Oregon, and have had commissions range from fashion designers to private clients. My wood interactives developed during grad school in 2015. I was working on a personal narrative of one being able to rewrite their own story. I wanted a symbolic language to speak universally to all. I created a large 4’ x 5’ wooden journey board that resembled an enlarged scrabble game complete with 100 wood tiles. Instead of the tiles having letters, they had lines, curves, and dots etched into them with a wood burner. The viewer was invited to interact with the journey board by choosing as many tiles as they wanted to place on the board. Serendipitously, the tiles’ designs tended to flow into one another creating what I saw as a journey in life. My interactive block series derived from the journey board. I get to experience others physically interacting with my work and creating new interactions and configurations of their own. It’s pure delight for me to witness. This has been a life long journey for me. I’ve had to navigate around many stumbling blocks along the way, but I have never given up hope. I know I have something to offer others that will bring enjoyment.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary—say it was a weeklong trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out etc.
I live on a sail boat on Shelter Island. It has beautiful scenery all around me from driving on the island to sitting in the cock pit enjoying that which surrounds me. I would have to say that I would definitely take my friend sailing in San Diego. As we are sailing, I would certainly suggest we go whale watching. Even if the whales didn’t present themselves, often dolphins do and that to me is equally as magical. Once we return to the Marina, I would want us to walk over to Scott Street and North Harbor drive for a seafood delight at Mitch’s Seafood. We could sit out on the patio and watch the fishing boats come back with their catch. The Pearl on Rosecrans is one of my favorite Hotel/Bar/Restaurants to visit. It reminds me of Palm Springs with its mid-century modern vibe. The bar looks out over the patio/swimming pool area where a large screen is mounted against the hotel showing wonderful old time movies. It feels like a posh drive-in movie, yet instead of staying in your car, you may take a dip in the pool or enjoy cocktails on the patio. Taking a drive or a hike up to Cabrillo monument would be my next suggestion. The vantage point is stunning overlooking the pacific with a beautiful view of Shelter Island, and downtown San Diego. The history and culture dates back to the sixteenth century exploration, the nineteenth century lighthouses, and the military history. I think I would end the week with a drive to sunset cliffs. It is a magical place to watch the waves come up and crash against the cliffs watching the spray jet high above the surface. I realize this has been a coastal adventure and mainly in a centralized location, but this is where I call home and I think it is enchanting for anyone to see.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Beverly Semmens: Although this mentor of mine has been deceased for the last ten years, Beverly Semmens has been one of the most influential people in my life. Beverly was a professor at the University of Cincinnati where I did my undergrad studies in Fine Arts and Art Education. She taught fiber art and was a fiber artist herself. When I was studying Fine Arts in the early 80’s, it was suggested to take a variety of visual art forms and then decide which one resonated most to pursue. I studied painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, design, etc., but the discipline I was most drawn to was fiber art. Beverly taught such a variety of methods in that one class alone: loom weaving, tapestry, coiling, batik, jewelry, crochet, and trapunto. The diversity of choices, the tactile experience, and the immense information of each technique was intoxicating to me. I continued taking fiber arts throughout my undergrad training. Beverly taught the class with such passion and wisdom, which led and inspired me to become a contemporary craft/fiber artist. I moved to San Diego shortly after graduating with my Bachelors in Fine Arts/Art Education, yet Beverly continued to correspond with me through letters of great encouragement and inspiration.
Chet Przybysz: My son, Chet, inspires me every day. He is a jazz musician living in Bellingham, Washington continuing his education at Western Washington University. Chet grew up having a mother who is an artist. He watched me work in my studio after a long day of teaching art. Being an artist/teacher and a mother is a juggling act. My art is very important to me and I wanted to put in the time to create, although I always wanted to make sure my son was getting the best nurturing and attention from me first and foremost. I would ask him if he felt he was getting enough Mother time. He always said he was. Today, at age 25, Chet tells me that my work ethic of being an artist/teacher has taught him the discipline of studio practice to perfect his art. He averages six hours a day of studio time, takes ten classes a quarter, performs, and produces on the side. His energy, endurance, and passion for his art of music astounds me. I am beyond proud, and in awe of this amazing young man I get to call my son.
Facebook: Robin Przybysz /Art in Texture