The art industry appears to have no limits when it comes to how creative each person in it can get. Los Angeles based artist Robert Maurice is no exception to that rule.
His work is, well, definitely jaw-dropping (check out his popular Instagram page here) as its totally unapologetic when it comes to him painting gorgeous men in the nude. A lot of the images depict them in a state of full erection or engaging in behavior that is definitely NSFW.
On the flip side Robert also indulges and excels in other kinds of paintings that don’t revolve around the naked male. He’s taken a stab at historical figures like Anne Boleyn all the way to modern stars like RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel.
He chatted with us about his thriving career in our exclusive interview with him below.
How did you get involved in the art of painting?
I’d been waiting tables at various restaurants around town for over a decade while also working as an actor and comedian here in Los Angeles when COVID hit. The restaurant shut down and suddenly I had a lot more time on my hands. Having recently picked up a small set of watercolors from Target and in a moment of boredom & creativity, I sat down one day and took a stab at painting. The rest is history (albeit fairly recent history).
Did you have any inspirations before getting into the industry?
Prior to my becoming a painter I gathered inspiration from the people around me. As much as I was “over” being a waiter, the constant rotation of human beings, personalities and stories that I was immersed in on any given night was the best inspiration for my work.
I’ve always been inspired by visual art – color is what attracts me mostly. Picasso, Matisse, Monet & Van Gough all get me real hot. Recently I discovered the watercolor work of Georgia O’Keefe (not flowers) as well as Egon Schiele and am in awe of and most recently inspired by them.
How would you describe your specific style?
I specialize in bold, homoerotic watercolor paintings. On the COMPLETELY other end of the spectrum I also get a lot of commissions to paint babies and portraits of, get this… FACES ONLY! Who knew that was a thing?!
You’ve painted some pretty gorgeous guys during your career. Do you usually search for them or do they come to you?
In the beginning, I searched. Now? I’m so grateful to say, they come to me. When I have extra time and am able to work on pieces purely for the joy of it, I will reach out to one of the incredible guys I’ve connected with via my Instagram page or if I’m really feeling it, I’ll just Google search for exactly the image I want to paint, and usually come pretty close (erases browser history).
A lot of your work includes nudity. Are your subjects usually comfortable doing this and is it done in person or by photograph submission?
If a client is nude in a painting, it’s 100% always because they requested to be. I will paint you in a turtleneck and sweatpants if you want it!
I work two ways mainly: Some of my local Los Angeles clients want to be sketched in person, in which case we arrange the session at the location of their choice (usually their home) and I’ll do the first, preliminary, very rough sketch in person, in usually an hour or less. Then I snap a photo (approved by the client) of the final pose to reference for my painting which happens from my home studio over the following days.
I also have a lot of clients who prefer to send a photo from the beginning and am more than happy to work this way as well – it lends itself more to social distancing and working with clients from all around the country/world!
What has been your favorite painting to date and why?
My favorite painting to date is entitled “Neck Stretch” and it’s my favorite because it was the first piece I painted after which I thought, “Woah…I can paint”. It’s also where I discovered a lot of my personal style for the first time, much of which has stuck with me since. It’s also sort of turned into my logo – I have it on my business card and as my Instagram profile pic.
If there was one event that you could cover what would it be?
I’d love to have a pop up studio at any giant gay pride celebration. San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Portland or Philadelphia would all be amazing – or something a little naughtier at the Folsom Street Fair would be so so fun too!
What does the future hold for you and what are you looking forward to the most in your career?
The future is totally limitless and I am just beginning. I’m still digesting the fact that out of a global pandemic, somehow I discovered a passion I didn’t know I had. I am super excited for what the future and the upcoming year holds. Some things that are on my mind right now: holiday commissions, an Etsy store, a website, the homoerotic tarot deck im beginning to design, and naked guys…always naked guys.