AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Robert Marley

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a textile made by Robert Marley from Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida​.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a sculpture made by Robert Marley from Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida​.

two photos, side by side, of a young man wearing a colorful, tropical-like costume of a floral skirt and similarly styled coat and a grass mask, on the left, and the just the skirt on the right

Here’s Robert’s statement on the work:

“In what ways can I contribute to the progression of reducing the build-up of waste on our planet, and how can I merge this idea with my art? How can I manipulate clashing visions to create intriguing attire? I am up-cycling, recycling, and repurposing various materials while using clashing colors, shapes, and textures to design abstract works of art that can be worn. By mixing these characteristics within the regalia, my creations concurrently battle each other while becoming unified once joined together.

“My recent investigation of the natural rhythms and patterns of the world is expressed through the creation of garments using recycled, repurposed, and reused materials. I allowed the Divine Creator to express itself through me spontaneously and freely. I mixed various fabrics, paints, textures, and silhouettes and combined multiple pieces of clothing in order to achieve fun, experimental characters.”

Here's Robert's teacher Patty Keller on Robert's work:

"Throughout his time in the art program, Robert has always pushed the limits with his creativity.  His eclectic style and ability to utilize various colors and mediums to create new and innovative masterpieces is a testament to his unique artistic mind. Robert explored fashion and fiber art in a novel way to create an AP Art and Design portfolio that was truly inspiring. It is a collection of powerful ideas and colors. Through his process, Robert developed a strong relationship with his materials through practice, experimentation, and revision. There is an incredible balance between curiosity and respect for the mediums he uses.

"I was fortunate enough to be able to provide him with a dedicated classroom workspace to discover and create new ways to use various materials. I have always been a huge proponent of having students use uncommon and untraditional materials in their art-making. I provided Robert with numerous different resources and supplies to experiment with as he developed his concept. His class critiques were geared toward his style and vision in order to bring out the best in his work. Through constant revisiting of his inquiry, I helped Robert to make a deep and meaningful connection between his thought process and his completed works.

"Robert was also allowed to put on a fashion show as part of the annual school art exposition to showcase several of his portfolio works. Robert’s use of color, texture, and design are quite apparent in his works, as is his use of several cultural influences.

"Robert’s portfolio is surely an inspiration for past and future AP Art and Design scholars."

And here are a few other works from Robert’s portfolio:

a three-drawer, two cabinet table painted with colors and imagery

a woman wearing a floral, tropical-style dress with a long, snake-like necklace wrapped around her neck and arm

Feathers, recycled fabric, repurposed curtain fringe trimming, acrylic paint, fabric spray paint. Remove curtain fringe trimming from recycled curtain, paint dress, create form with curtain trimming.

two photos, side by side, of a young woman wearing an avant garde fashion

Hot glue plants to recycled dress, sew neck piece and sleeve, sew plants on back

two photos, side by side, of a young man wearing a vest jacket painted and decorated in blue, yellow, green, and a red face on the back

Recycled vest, spray paint, acrylic paint, textile paint, repurposed paint, wire, hooks, gold medium. Paint and spray paint vest, gather dried paint, attach to wire forms, attach earring hooks.

two photos, side by side, of a toilet with a painting of a bird coming out of a toilet propped on top of the seat

Clean toilet, Paint bird on toilet, place painting on toilet, drop acrylic ink in toilet water.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.