Bob Durham’s studio is in a happening corner of East Nashville, on the basement floor beneath an inline skate shop and across the street from the Turnip Truck parking lot near 5 Points. High ceilings afford plenty of hanging space for his larger canvases. The waist-high flat table he brought over from his previous spot as a member of the Fugitives on Houston Street is used to stretch those canvases. A couple of years ago, Bob replaced all the lighting with color balanced fluorescents and has subsequently had to relearn how to mix his paints to achieve the hues he wants. This is particularly true of flesh tones in his most frequent subjects, people. At the moment, the studio has only one easel, one painting station, as the time available for painting is crimped by his teaching responsibilities at MTSU. When he’s more in control of his schedule, Bob likes to come in early and stay until suppertime, working on two or three projects at once. His style - realism - takes lots of time and requires concentration and exactness, neither of which can be rushed. When he first picked up the brush 30 years ago, one of the interesting projects he began was to do a self portrait every year, an endeavor he continues to this day. A few of these annual explorations are leaning against the walls and at times are unwelcome reminders of the aging process Bob has become more aware of in the past couple of years.
From the artist: Following his graduation from Vanderbilt, “I decided to be an illustrator, ‘cause that was the only thing I knew I’d never be able to win at.”