Rhonel Roberts featured on This is SF
Rhonel Roberts is a native Californian. In the 1980s he moved to the Bay Area from French Camp, outside of Stockton. From a young age, he was into art. “My 7th grade art teacher started me out on india ink. He encouraged me to use washes and textures. I liked it, but I loved color. But, it taught me how to shade and layer.”
After attending the University of the Pacific in Stockton to pursue art, he landed a design job at Lockheed Martin. Eight years later, he moved to San Francisco. But it wasn’t until 2001 that he decided to seriously commit to art, and found himself a studio. He also began working as an interior designer. “It taught me that I could create environments spatially.”
So he started thinking about art in that manner. He’d go into wine shops and La Boulange and show them how to use art and color to warm up the space. He also started hosting workshops for companies to encourage team building through art, where people disconnect from their devices and connect to each other. He helps them create pieces in his distinct style which uses tape to introduce negative space and bold lines to the paintings.
Roberts is very involved in the neighborhood, especially with the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association's Arts committee. “It’s been great. Hayes Valley is an artistically creative neighborhood. We can depend on each other and support each other, that’s how it should be.”
In the future, he hopes "to work with the African American Arts and Culture Complex. To do a show there or make a poster for them. We don’t have enough African American images out there, especially of men. If you look around the neighborhood you don’t see that many men of color."
Roberts is active on social media, and encourages his fans to connect with him!