Checking in with Robin Braun


What were you doing when we called?
I was just unpacking frames. I came from my day job, which is why you caught me unpacking frames instead of painting. I work part-time for a property management company.

In her new show “Grasses and Insects,” local painter Robin Braun paints the bugs and other little things whose lives run parallel to our own. The show is on view at Angelo through April 30.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two different things. One is a group of insect paintings for a show [“Grasses and Insects,” now showing at Angelo], and I’m also working on these new river paintings. Some are of the Rivanna River and one is of Darden Towe Park. I have a show in April that’s going to be freshwater rivers and ponds.

What is your earliest artistic memory?
I remember when I was really, really small my parents took me to the Smithsonian in a stroller and they carried me up all the steps and took me in to look at the artwork. I was probably 4 or 5.

Tell us about a piece of art that you wish were in your private collection.
It would definitely be a work of visual art. Probably “The Madonna of the Rocks” by DaVinci. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at it.

Item you’d splurge on?
I like to buy art. I trade a lot of my art for other pieces, but I think if I could splurge I would buy art, and if I had a lot of money I would buy a lot of art.

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Probably Hieronymus Bosch. I’d just like to hear what he has to say because I love his paintings. DaVinci would be a good choice, but I probably wouldn’t understand anything he said because he’s so smart.

If you had to give up one sense, which would it be?
If you give up smell I think you’re giving up taste, so they’re kind of the same. I couldn’t live without music, so I guess I’d give up taste and smell. It’d be sad though.

How do you prepare for work?
I don’t do much. I’m sort of anti-ritual. I feel like I have to come in every day and sit down like this is just a job. I just do it. I like to start early-ish, because morning is better for me. But I like to treat it like I’m just painting a house or doing anything else.

Do you have any superstitions about your art?
You paint better during the full moon. That’s kind of a superstition, but it seems to be true. Sometimes I paint better when I’m sick—if I have a fever, I paint better. It’s kind of a superstition, but it’s definitely also kind of true. I think sometimes there’s a window where things go really, really well. You know it’s going to end, so you’ve got to make use of it because, once it ends, then things are probably going to go really, really badly.

What is a concert, exhibit or show that has recently inspired you?
Primus really wowed me. I thought they were amazing, and that was that last concert I went to. I liked Abby Kasonik’s show at Second Street Gallery.

Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?
There are so many. I collaborated with Rob Browning one time where we painted one painting together, passing it back and forth. He would work on it and give it to me and then I worked on it. It was really, really fun.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A really big painting. But that’s not ambitious enough. I’d probably move to London.