Photographer, Musician, The Ninth Child
My favorite forms of art are music and film. The biggest impact on my life was music at a very young age. I like how I can listen to music and be completely taken to a new place. Completely. When I am in a mood—good or bad—I can accelerate that mood or decelerate that mood or take me somewhere else. I feel the same about film. It just takes me out of myself and puts me in this area where it is going to be okay. I feel safe there and I feel it is also safe to be weird and I have been weird since the day I was born. And I mean that in a very healthy way.
And it causes conversation. That’s a huge thing. Art always causes a conversation. If you find a hard core republican who hates art and a liberal who loves art, that is a conversation right there.
I don’t think people really hate art, but I think there are people who think we can do without it. I think if we do without it, we’ve just cut off our limbs. It’s dangerous.
I’ve had this conversation with people, who think that if you can’t make a living from it, why would you do it? And that doesn’t make sense to me. It opens this window up in your mind. It’s like taking acid, because it gets you somewhere. You go ‘Wow! That’s amazing” and you learn something.
Pink Floyd was my first massive, intense experience with music. My brother had speakers the size of me when I was five years old. I come from 9 children. I’m number 9. My earliest memory is of my 2nd oldest brother KC who had these massive old 1960’s or 1970’s speakers. They were wood with canvas or cloth. And the sound of Wish You Were Here and Dark Side Of The Moon would pour out of these speakers and it was so big and it was so frightening. We lived on a lake and we had no TV. We just had conversation and music and home movies and flashlight tag and stuff like that. We were really out in the middle of nowhere. Every once in awhile he would play Pink Floyd and it was bigger than life. It frightened me and excited me. I thought, “I want this”. It touched me on a visceral level it was so intense.
When I was in Junior High my friend Matt—who went on to be an agent in LA at CAA—he said to me “I just saw this movie ‘E.T.’, you gotta see it.” We were in 7th grade or 8th grade at the time and so I went to see it. I remember that this was the first time I recognized music in a movie as a character. And then I remember there was this seen where they really pay attention to the keys on someone’s belt when they are searching for E.T. and I really saw and heard stuff for the first time. And I was happy in the movie theater and things weren’t always happy at home. I remember thinking I want to be the guy behind the camera. So, when I was in early high school, I remember thinking I wanted to take photos of my friends playing lacrosse. So my brother, who was in the military, got me a camera cheap and I started taking pictures. It was the first time in my life I got an A in school because I was a horrible student, but I thought, I can do this. I went off to college, went off to New York and have been successful.
For me, Art’s been my buddy. I’m not the type of person who goes to museums or galleries, but I see Art in everything all the time. And more and more, as I get older, I hear it; I see it; I feel it all the time. It’s been my buddy, like all my life to let me know it’s going to be okay. It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to think different.
Rob’s website with images of his work: http://www.robertdelahanty.com/