By Beth Daigle
In today’s fast-paced world there is no time to waste when your mission is to inspire busy audiences. Rob Surette gets right down to business in his “Amazing Hero Art” performance as he speedily constructs large-scale celebrity portraits, using latex paint on canvas, in as little as 58 seconds.
Rob, a North Andover resident, bills himself as “the world’s fastest portrait artist” and accompanies his paintings with poignant motivational messages to “be somebody,” “believe in yourself” and “have dreams in life.” Audio recordings and video images convey these very messages throughout the show as Rob constructs his amazing works of art. Rob’s “repertoire” comprises more than 600 icons and personalities, ranging from political figures like President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to superstars like Marilyn Monroe and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
At an event at St. Michael School in North Andover earlier this year, Rob impressed the crowd by completing seven 4 1/2 by 5 1/2 foot canvases in a matter of 45 minutes. Actually, he spent only a fraction of that time applying paint. He spent most of his time on stage engaging and enlightening his audience as he brought the canvas to life with sweeping brush strokes and a theatrical flair. As if the hero portrayals alone weren’t enough, Rob continued to challenge the curiosity of his audience with optical illusions, inverted painting, and simultaneous portrait creations. Rob’s passion, energy, and expertise translated into a thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking program.in today’s fast-paced world there is no time to waste when your mission is to inspire busy audiences. Rob Surette gets right down to business in his “Amazing Hero Art” performance as he speedily constructs large-scale celebrity portraits, using latex paint on canvas, in as little as 58 seconds.
Rob is a self-taught artist who began drawing at the age of 3 in Arlington, Mass. Over the past 12 years, Rob has traveled nationwide demonstrating his amazing skill to millions. When asked how he got started he says, “My grandfather inspired me to be an artist. I didn’t go to art school; it was just in me.” When it comes to his talent, Rob humbly insists, “It’s all practice.” In his show, Rob emphasizes his grandfather’s impact on his success with touching audio clips preserved from when Rob was in just second grade. In one clip his grandfather proclaims, “He’ll be in the art galleries one day” while another foresees, “You’re going to be quite an artist when you grow up, Robbie; a couple more years, you’ll be drawing portraits!”
Rob started down the road to making these predictions a reality when, after college, he decided to walk away from a “terrible work experience at a mediocre job” and chase his dream. Rob is a firm believer in taking chances, and he encourages his audiences to do the same.
Of the many celebrities he has painted, some of Rob’s personal favorites include Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as Albert Einstein, and David Ortiz. However, portrait work alone does not define Rob Surette. He also designs custom murals and canvases exhibiting a keen eye for color and continuity. He aspires to take his “Amazing Hero Art” show to Broadway as well as to perform someday for Oprah Winfrey, or even at the White House. Rob is an intriguing, down-to-earth guy. His “primary life theme,” he says, “is to create and make a difference in the world,” but he doesn’t forget that “you have to have fun in life too.”
If you are out and about on the North Shore, you might catch a glimpse of Rob having some fun cruising around in his mobile work of art, a Hummer H1 emblazoned with many of Rob’s finest works of art.
To learn more about Rob Surette and his “Amazing Hero Art,” visit www.amazingheroart.com