Category header
Robert Long
University of Arizona
Category: Illustration
Work title: Symbionce
Country: United States


Image 1 by Robert Long
Image 2 by Robert Long
Image 3 by Robert Long
Image 4 by Robert Long
Image 5 by Robert Long
Theme Gallery


Robert's work is fueled by biology and pseudoscience. His illustration amplifies intimate and obscure forms of life, as he weaves an empathetic narrative around them. Unsung micro-mythologies carry the viewer through hunter/prey relationships as well as symbiotic relationships, or the living together of unlike organisms. Immersing himself in the outdoors, informs his work, which is often a harmony of graphite and digital media. Originally from Maryland, Robert currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Each illustration presents a pair of aquatic animals exhibiting symbiosis, which is the living together of unlike organisms. Both mutual and parasitic relationships are represented, and the icon atop each print, encodes them as one or the other. A central illustration displays the two animals together, with diagrams below that show how the two interact. At the bottom, an icon is distilled whose form represents the two animals' spatial interaction and interdependency, and how their lives cross into one another.

Communication Objective
Early animal psychologist Jakob von Uexkall cares for the animals he describes. He writes about them delicately, with such depth, that we are transported smoothly into their realm. His scholarship resonates, and accompanies biology and pseudoscience. Here, we may glimpse into the worlds of the lowly dwellers of the meadow. To do so, we must first blow, in fancy, a soap bubble around each creature to represent its own world, filled with the perceptions which only it knows. The world that is depicted, is how it appears to the animals themselves, not how it appears to us. The point of overlap of two animals is investigated, and denoted by the icon above each of the intimate interspecies relationships. Each pair of animals exhibits symbiosis, which is the living together of unlike organisms.

Tools used
Adobe Bridge CS6 for reference photographs. Photoshop CS6 on graphite drawings. Illustrator CS6 for producing clean vector graphics, used at the very top and bottom of each print.

Adobe Tools
Bridge CS6, Creative Suite 6 Design Standard, Illustrator CS6, Photoshop CS6

I’d like to thank Bob and Mary Long; my professors Ellen McMahon, Gary Setzer, Phil Zimmermann, and David Christiana for their guidance; and Meg Jackson for her second opinion.


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