Rob was born and bred in a small rural community called Ohariu Valley, 15 minutes out of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. He grew up tinkering with machinery, motorbikes, cars, lawnmowers, bikes and so on. Building trolleys (billy carts) with his brothers and friends and racing them down the road outside the front gate brought out his competitive spirit.
As a youngster he loved building and flying model airplanes. He built a model railway 3m x 2m in his bedroom at one stage as well. Building forts from scrap materials and creating his own ‘marble-tracks’ were all fun activities for Rob growing up too.
From age 8 to age 23 Rob was deeply involved in NZ Scouting, starting in Cub Scouts, then Scouts, then Venturers and finally he became a Venturer Leader. These were some of the best times in Rob’s life, where he revelled in the creative tasks put before him. The group was always active and set themselves challenges on a weekly basis.
Always a scribbler, Rob started by drawing on walls until his mum and dad bought him some drawing paper and pencils. After finishing college (high school) with art, technical drawing, woodwork and metal work skills under his belt, Rob studied for 3 full-time years – plus night school – at what was then Wellington Polytechnic, graduating in 1984.
From there Rob pursued a career in Art Direction, working in many multinational ad agencies in Wellington, Sydney and Brisbane, creating many award winning campaigns, mainly in Direct Marketing. This segment of his career honed Rob’s creative and paper engineering skills along with countless other creative skills.
He’s been a Senior Art Director and Associate Creative Director with numerous Multi-national Advertising Agencies including Mojo Partners Direct, DDB Direct Sydney, Ammirati Puris Lintas Direct, Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Clemenger Direct and also did a stint at Saatchi & Saatchi NZ, amongst other big names.
Rob now runs his own Design Consultancy, The AD Man – Rob Stephenson, which has been successfully creating graphics and marketing materials for the past 20+ years. Rob is a true creative thinker with design skills across all media including Direct Marketing, Graphic Design, Corporate Identity, Photography and Retouching, Illustration and more.
More recently Rob has been turning his mind to 3 dimensions. Designing, creating and building his patented ‘Layback Throne’ – a chair based on a ‘Grandpa Adirondack Chair’ which uses a surfboard for the back rest. The board is not permanently attached so can be switched out in a matter of seconds. He is also currently inventing/designing many other useful and artistic ‘things’.
Having visited ‘SWELL’ for many years, Rob has always found creative inspiration there. This year Rob decided it was high time he got involved and showcased some of his own work.
Rob has always been drawn to the water, especially the ocean, so has numerous ideas involving the sea, the tides, the currents and the wind, waiting to manifest into amazing sculptures and environmental art pieces.
2021 SWELL ARTWORK – Give A Little, Rob Stephenson
When two different worlds come together, be they people, cultures, environments or ecosystems, if they each agree to bend and twist ever so slightly, that little bit of ‘give’ will allow them both to exist as one harmonious, endless flow of ‘being’.
Expressed here as a Möbius Strip, a sculptural form that has only one surface and only one edge, that loop around on themselves infinitely. The iconic heart shape is beautifully balanced, representing gratitude, togetherness, life and love.
SWELL Kids Artist Statement – Soul Mates, Rob Stephenson
The Mobius Loop is a very curious form. See for yourself.
Use your eyes to follow the edge or the surface around the shape.
Eventually you’ll pass a point opposite where you started, then carry on around and you’ll come back to where you began, having travelled the entire loop, both inside and out.
How is that possible?
Website: www.manifested.com.au www.theadman.com.au
Come and see for yourself at SWELL Sculpture Festival, Pacific Parade, Currumbin 10-19 September.