Spend any amount of time talking with Becky Robbins and she quickly reveals herself: multi-faceted, an explorer, a student, a leader. And though her surname might initially call up who she was (she’s the former wife and partner of motivational speaker Tony Robbins), it’s who she is now that seems to truly exemplify her.
Following her 2001 divorce, at a friend’s urging, she enrolled in an art class at La Jolla’s Athenaeum. “I’d just gotten out of a marriage and a big company, so my life drastically changed,” she says, and admiring how that friend was embracing opportunities to learn new things, Robbins was inspired to embark on her own journey of self-discovery. Though the art class was introductory, she enjoyed it so much she continued to study and evolve artistically.
Now, she is a full-time artist working from her home studio in Del Mar. Her current series is a visual representation of her own process of exploration on which she ultimately brings others along for the visual ride. Her inspiration is derived from a natural inquisitiveness and appreciation for medicine, science, culture, anatomy, and nature, with a special love reserved for the octopus (she is, after all, a passionate scuba diver as well as a board member at Birch Aquarium).
The pieces, the smallest of which are three-foot squares, are large in scale but intricate in detail. Why so big? “I think it’s because there’s so much that starts to happen that it would feel restrictive if I tried to go back down to a smaller-sized board. I’ll start with an image that I find that I love, either of a photograph that I took or one that someone else took,” she says, noting that she always obtains permission when she uses anyone else’s work for inspiration. “Then, I reinterpret that into my own work. I’ll paint something, and then all the seemingly disparate images eventually come together to start having a relationship with one another.”
“Once I get all the individual images, I start doing all the connecting work … because I believe that we are all connected and everything is connected in some way. That really becomes even more meaningful to me because [then] I see what the painting represents, what the energy of the painting is,” she says of the pieces, which can each take up to a year to complete. Though Robbins says there are times when viewers of her art may interpret something entirely different from what her vision was, there’s one thing others have noticed that she also recognizes. “[The art] is getting more detailed and more complicated. They’re taking longer as a result of that and I feel like my skill level is increasing because I’m capable of doing that kind of detail,” she says.
But true to her ever-evolving spirit, Robbins isn’t ready to define herself by this new chapter. “It’s just what I’m doing now, and I don’t know what will happen next,” she says. “I’m going to do this until I’m ready for the next thing.” beckyrobbins.com