Robbie's interest in art began as a child living in one of the art centers of the world, Florence. His teachers in Italy encouraged his creativity, especially his elementary "maestro" Signor Cibei. He was also inspired by his music teacher, Marisa Roggi, who saw in him a talented individual. He especially liked creating his own animated characters with his pencil and paper that resembled the characters of Walt Disney but were embellished by Robbie to become his own creations. He always admired Walt Disney and his team of animators and was amazed as a young man by the film Fantasia.

Photo by Dr. Mike James

Photo by Dr. Mike James

During his years in Florence he was able to admire the works of many greats among them Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarotti. His parents gave him an amazing opportunity when they decided to live and work in Florence. Moving back to the states he did not lose his desire to continue creating. At Harding Academy he had wonderful art teachers that devoted time to him and encouraged him further to develop his art. One such teacher was Louanna Case who would encourage her students by taking them out in nature to draw the beauty around them. He was also mentored by a local artist in Searcy, Lee Watts, who was a wealth of knowledge for Robbie and was free to share his ideas with Robbie. Robbie entertained the idea of majoring in Art at Harding University but instead decided on Kinesology because of his love of sports and young people. He did minor in Art and had wonderful encouragement coming from teachers like Elizabeth Mason, Don Robinson and Paul Pitt. Mr. Robinson allowed Robbie to have an Art show his senior year even though that was commonly what was required of those majoring in art. Leaving Harding he headed for Dallas, Texas, where he became an art teacher.

The "shop" teacher let Robbie share his building with him and the Art room was created. There the students could work in ceramics, even spinning their own pots and painting. The building became known as the Zoo. His many trips to New Mexico for ski trips were always accompanied by side trips with Jim and Mickie Oates to wonderful galleries in Taos and Santa Fe. His appetite for art was inspiring for his students who he consistently took to the Kimble Museum in Fort Worth or Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. His two small sons were always in the Zoo helping him create a pot or posing for a painting. They would become messes with paint and clay in their fingernails but creating something has always been important for Robbie. His dream to return to Italy became a reality when in 1990 he became the director of Harding University in Florence. As director he was able to learn more from the masterpieces that Florence houses. He was also befriended by many artists; one of them was Adelindo Tassi who was a fan of the Machiaioli painters, a sort of Italian Impressionists group from the 1800s.

In 1993 he decided to further his study of painting by attending SACI (Studio Art Center International). He studied under Jules Maidoff who helped Robbie to touch some of his "inner soul" and he looked more into art in the abstract. His studies at SACI helped him to become more creative and freed him to think outside of the box with his painting. After a year and exhibiting some of his work he continued learning and became a pupil of Tiziano Bonanni. He has continued studying with Tiziano and was able to be part of an art show with him in 2010 at Nest in Dallas, Texas. Because of being a student of Tiziano's, Robbie's art has been part of many student exhibits. He has lately been working on art shows that have benefited the HUF villa renovation project and Harding's program in Zambia.