Artist Spotlight: Twin Inspiration

Category:  The Arts
Friday, October 11th, 2019 at 11:10 AM
Artist Spotlight: Twin Inspiration by Zeila Hobson
A 2016 illustration by Rob Campbell.

Twins Robert and Zachary Campbell both credit their father for planting the first buds of creativity within them. As a carpenter, Mr. Campbell was always sketching out his projects.

These doodles intrigued Rob Campbell, who remembers his father showing him how to draw 3-D block letters. It was this taste of perspective drawing that inspired him to sketch his favorite cartoon characters; soon, he graduated to using “How to Draw” books. “From there,” Campbell said warmly, “my love for art grew and grew.”

Now an illustration major at Edinboro, Rob Campbell enjoys drawing fantastical, weathered landscapes.

“I like to create my own landscape using a point of realism,” he said. “I weather everything to tell a story. The more weathered it is, the more people make up their own stories about a piece. It’s always really fun to get someone else’s perspective on my work.”

He described the art community on campus as “super tight-knit,” especially because of the department’s 100-year anniversary this year.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere right now if not for the artists around me,” he said.

When asked for advice to give incoming students, he responded: “Put yourself out there. There are so many different mediums and perspectives on campus… you can throw all these different styles into your work and learn who you are.”

Bright-eyed, Rob Campbell also spoke on the artists that inspire him. Norman Sanders, a famous pulp artist from the ’60s, known for his pin-up style illustrations and features in horror magazines, made the list. So did Francesco Francavilla, a comic book artist and illustrator who’s been featured in publications like “The New Yorker” for his pop-culture based work. Here at Edinboro, he credits professors Geoffrey Beadle, Michelle Vitali and Francis Demaske with making him a better artist through instruction and by inspiring him with their work.

Currently, he mostly does poster work and commissions for various tattoos, album covers and other niche items.

“My goal would be to get my stuff in a big publication magazine like The New Yorker and build up from there,” he said, also mentioning a goal of children’s book illustration.

Of his twin brother, he said: “We have been super close all our lives. We love that we can vibe off of each other.” Describing their relationship as equal parts love and healthy competition, he added: “He is really good. Zach is definitely going places.”

Zach Campbell’s first memory of creating art also involves their father. Sitting with his son at the kitchen table, Mr. Campbell removed the wrapper of a crayon and drew waves across the page using the side of it. The EU student was mesmerized by this innovative coloring technique and never stopped being fascinated by creating art. Soon, he too was drawing his favorite cartoon characters; he never stopped.

Now an animation major, his work is inspired by the creators that wooed his imagination as a child. These influences include Craig McCracken, creator of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and “The Powerpuff Girls,” Butch Hartman, the animator behind “The Fairly OddParents” and “Dexter’s Laboratory,” and the late Stephen Hillenburg, creator of “Spongebob Squarepants.”

“I mostly want to work on TV,” he said. “My overall goal is to pitch my own show, but I’d be happy doing concept art, character design, and storyboarding for someone else’s.”

Regarding the art community on campus, Zach Campbell spoke specifically of animation majors.

“We can communicate more because we’re all trapped in one room for long periods of time,” he said. “We get to know each other and the work. A lot of us love the same stuff and grew up with the same cultural influences.”

He continued: “I like animation because you can take any idea you want and make it a reality. There are no physical restraints of any kind.”

Zach Campbell’s eyes are technically identical to his brother’s, but Zach’s glinted with their own unique light when he answered questions about his brother. “Me and Bobby connect at a more personal level; I can always pick out his work,” he said. “It’s pretty fun having a twin, especially one who likes the same stuff as I do.”

Describing the ease of their mutual critiques and collaborations despite their very different focuses, he maintained that there’s a level of honesty to how each twin approaches the other’s work, saying, “He never holds back and he understands my thought process.”

Zach Campbell’s advice to new art students is as follows: “Plan your schedule accordingly! Stuff piles up very quickly if you don’t plan ahead.” He did not comment on how he knew this, but did concede with a good-natured smile that he’s glad Doucette Hall (the home of animation on campus) is open 24 hours a day.

Both students take commissions, and they can be found on Instagram:

Additional Photos:

A character design by Zach Campbell.A 2016 illustration by Rob Campbell.

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