Robert Shonbrun was born in Brooklyn NY in 1967, the last of five children. One of his first memories was lying on the floor of his parent’s room drawing the proceedings of the Watergate hearings. Bathed in the warm ions pouring from the RCA color console, he scrawled Richard Nixon with stick-like guns firing pins at him from all directions. The president is weeping little falling lines.
He would lie on the wood floor drawing spaceships and submarines and giant lizards pulverizing cities. Images inspired by long Saturdays spent with the cartoons as the sun rose and languidly passing into the creature features of the afternoon. TV never seemed to drain his imagination. In fact it seemed to stimulate it to an insect-like buzz.
His mother, an editor and writer for women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and Mademoiselle, also a playwright, turned him onto science fiction and bizarre humor like Monty Python, Brother Theodore and Edward Gorey.
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis around the time of his birth, His mother decided to move back to her hometown of Gainesville, FL. She took two youngest daughters and Bob, who was now ten. Here he would listen to Firesign Theater records. Lip-synching to them, he would draw compulsively. Being a bit of a loner gave him plenty of time for his artistic endeavors. Too much time, perhaps.
At the age of fourteen he drew his first paid Illustration. It was for an educational software company and appeared, as an ad, in a little known early computer journal called Nibble, of all things. During this time he went on to win a couple of minor local awards for his cartoons and illustrations.
After an undistinguished high school career, split between Gainesville High School, and Hopedale High School in Hopedale, MA. He had an equally undistinguished college career. He finally earned his Bachelor of Art from Framingham State College in 1991. Spending many years in Massachusetts did not affect his accent, though.
Like anyone with an art degree he found himself in great demand…in retail. He did have a stint in the dungeon-like basement of Framingham Public Library entering books into a database. He Finally broke his shackles and ran away to the sun and lizards of Tampa, Florida. Here he lives bicycling, swimming, painting and drawing to this day.
Artwork copyright 2004 Robert Shonbrun. Please do not reproduce without permission.