Angels of Protection
By Rob Jacobs



One day, toward the end of 1999, something made me say these words to my father:  “this angel will protect you.”  I had just asked him if he would like one of my pieces of artwork to hang above his bed. There were several images to choose from, and they were all from a series of angels I had been creating. Without hesitation he said, “yes.”  Then I said, “this angel will protect you.” He immediately resonated with this statement. Much later I realized that this was some kind of spiritual intuition. History is full of moments like these, and this one played itself out about half a year later.

When I visited my father, who resided at a retirement hotel in Westwood, California, the ritual was to call him first, which I did without exception. Heading home from my art studio one day, the thought “see your father” flashed in my head. It was so strongly pronounced that I immediately turned around and headed for Westwood. I had not called him, but “see your father” kept pounding in my head. My heart was racing by the time I arrived at his room on the seventh floor. I banged on the door, but all I could hear was the blaring of the television. I ran down to the office, got the staff to open the door, and found him lying on the floor, unconscious. It took the paramedics only a few minutes to reach us, and they were able to revive him from insulin shock.

Without their help he would have been gone. I knew then, without a doubt, that the angel hanging over his bed had protected him by acting as a messenger to me. He had been plucked from his body’s eternal rest. However, a year later he passed on peacefully during the night. He was ninety-three years old, and had lived in every decade of the twentieth century.

My artwork is an organic outgrowth of the remnants of my work as a photo retoucher to the advertising and entertainment industries. Having been a commercial artist for many years, my dream was to do my own images, which I call “fine art.” This dream was ignited around 1990 by the great graphic designer, Larry Vigon. Having come over to my studio to view some work I was doing for him, he glanced down at one of the palettes (mixed colors) that I create doing art work. He noticed a unique blending of colors and shapes emerging from the palette left over from cleaning brushes and airbrushes. This inspired me to start saving the palettes (9”x12” pieces of tracing paper), which was a mixture of paint, dyes, bleaches, glues, and masking fluid, all used in my process of photo retouching. These palettes eventually became a cache of raw materials, helping me to create new techniques for what was to become my own art.

By 1992 I began seriously working, exploring techniques with my palettes on paper. In short, I was creating images, using my palettes in a collage technique. From my first piece, a surreal and abstract landscape, “Of Sleeping Warriors, Of Spirit Buffalo, Of Phantom Highways,” I started seeing images literally jumping out of this image. The piece was populated with impressionistic figures of animals —  real and mythic, faces, bodies, imagined creatures, suns, moons, stars, landscapes, planets, ghostly figures.

The spontaneity of the pieces that followed brought about a freedom of design, fluidity of technique, and a subconscious quality. They seem to evoke the universal processes of memory, imagination and the dream state, raw experience pieced together into metaphors of innerlife, expanded and transformed by the mysterious logic of the hidden, unconscious self.

This process is much closer to sculpture than to painting, actually building the images in layers; a three-dimensional process that becomes two-dimensional. The viewer discovers new images that emerge from the work every time it’s viewed, and I am always discovering hidden images when I begin the process of assembling it.

I work in other disciplines and techniques, the one common theme being the use of my own palettes, whether it be acrylic on canvas, assemblies on board or paper; it all comes, hopefully, from the spiritual, the mental and the physical.

When I began creating the angel images, other than an intuitive feeling that I had to make them, I was not personally aware of the major meaning behind this series. I did, however, feel that any series with angels would be conducive in helping me heal some of my own personal issues. When I said to my father “this angel will protect you,” I was still not aware of the big picture behind the images. Only after the emotional and powerful experience with him was the meaning behind the series made known and clear to me, resonating with my consciousness. Since that time some of the most joyous moments of my life have been in sharing these images with others.

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