A contemporary artist known for his mixed-media portraits, murals and live events, the native Angeleno – a leading creative force in the revitalization of Downtown LA’s art scene whose works infuse classic genres of portraiture and nudes with an avant-garde explosivity that not only captures the visage and likeness of his subjects but also seems to excavate the intimate aspects of their character – Vargas plumbs his own psychological depths to discover what makes him love work and life.
What historical art figure would you like to have lunch with and why? I’d love to have a group lunch meeting with Beethoven and Michelangelo. It would be fascinating to talk about music notes as colors and colors as music notes and how each of us would articulate that.
What did you purchase with the proceeds from your first sale? I sold my first piece when I was 5 years old – so I used proceeds to buy more materials.
What words or phrases do you overuse? “Can’t stop, won’t stop” – it’s my battle cry. There’s no such thing as overuse when it comes to me using this phrase.
How do you know when a work is finished? It’s a vibe thing.
When and where were you happiest? When I was painting off of a 12-story building – I felt free.
What is your most treasured possession? My suitcase – I love to travel because I can create anywhere I go.
Where is your ideal escape destination? The south of France.
What’s the worst survival job you’ve ever had? I’ve been fortunate enough to be painting my whole life.
What TV series from your youth best describes your approach to life? Anything on MTV (back when it was actually MTV).
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d go swimming in the ocean more.
What is your most treasured memory? Meeting Eddie Van Halen – and then getting to paint Eddie Van Halen.
What makes you smile? Life.
What makes you cry? Love.
What is your go-to drink when you toast to a sale? Doesn’t matter the drink. It’s all about the sale.
After an all-nighter, what’s your breakfast of champions? Pancakes.
Who inspires you? My mom.
What’s your best quality? Inclusivity and sharing my creative process with the world.
What’s your biggest flaw? Time management – not because I’m late, but because there’s not enough time to do everything I want to do.
What is your current state of mind? Forward.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Painting the largest mural in the world by one artist…. until I have kids.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? I’d come back as myself and hit the ground running where I left off.
For more information, check out the artist at Instagram
Cover image: Together We Stand mural of Kobe Bryant by Robert Vargas, commissioned by Culver City advertising agency Zambezi; all images courtesy of the artist