Rob Kaz grew up in New Jersey, a self-trained artist, where he enjoyed surfing, skating, and hockey. After many cold and snowy winters, Rob sought warmer weather when deciding on a college and wound up in Orlando, where he earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida (go Knights!). After his post-graduation hopes of working for the government in criminal justice came to a halt with a hiring freeze, fate stepped in. Rob began working for several small animation studios in the Central Florida area. Shortly after, Disney had closed their Florida-based animation studios, which led to Rob working with some of the most acclaimed artists of our time.
“I was alongside possibly the most talented artists I’ve ever known, right there in those small studios. Their influence proved invaluable,” Rob proclaims.
As his career continued to take a new direction with animation, Rob had the opportunity to work in many film production areas. In particular, the time spent in character creation and environments heavily influenced his painting style. Rob worked as a character artist for Electronic Arts (EA Sports Tiburon), one of the world’s leading sports entertainment brands, with top-selling video game franchises. While at EA, he created human likenesses in games such as Madden NFL football and NCAA® Football. When Rob took a leap of faith and began his fine art career, he knew one thing:
“I want people to be happy when they look at my work, so I create stories that personally make me smile or laugh. But I also want people to notice the technical side of my paintings. I put a lot of emphasis on lighting, composition, and color when I paint. I think all of these aspects ultimately play a factor in deciding the emotional outcome of a finished painting.”
When Rob paints, he imagines “places he’d rather be” and envisions “friends along the way.” Both are recurring themes throughout Rob’s body of work, and thus his paintings easily fall into one of the two categories (if not both). One particular “friend” is Beauregard (Beau), the frog. Since his inception with “Hey You” and “Hey Me,” Beau has appeared in every painting Rob has created. If a painting is not focused solely on Beau, Rob will often hide him in the painting; this is something fans have latched onto and seem to have a lot of fun within being the first to find him in the release of each new painting.
Today, Rob’s work is a mirror of his animation background. Rob is one of the only few artists granted the unique opportunity and license to paint Disney films (he is a Legacy artist with Disney Fine Art). “I am one of the biggest fans of animation art you’ll meet, and being able to paint Disney is really an honor,” he says. “I have had the privilege of working with many Disney artists, and they inspired me to make the transition from animation to fine art.”
With each Disney painting, he begins; Rob sets the ultimate goal: “I want to have the story creators and animators of the movie see my work and give a thumbs-up. In no way do I wish to dishonor their masterpieces.” Rob has held many jobs—candy maker, movie projectionist, bike repairman, and bar back, but by far, being an artist is the happiest he’s ever been.
Call or visit our local galleries in Laguna and Irvine for more information about procuring some of Kaz’s heart-tugging artwork and other paintings for sale.