Backstory by Rob Sussman

ART TODAY 022518 Rob Sussman Art: Behind The Eyes, Snap Your Fingers by Chris Bonno

Backstory, Rob Sussman
Based off a quick sketch, this was my deepest exploration of graphite to date — pushing the tones as I exaggerated the features, integrating the levity of content into the process, and relaxing a bit to allow for a certain, simple harmony of elements.

Rob Sussman is a cool, seasoned, fastidious LA artist with an international feel to his work. I’m a fan of the variation of subject, styles, mediums and whimsy I see in his thorough, detailed visions which seem to spring from the deep interiors of his mind.

When I observe his art en masse, “Pinterest” style patterns emerge. I think he loves the disorder of the abstract, the “order” of the notion that “there’s a place for everything and everything in its place;” then he adds his sense of humor on top of that. Sussman’s a fan of drawing every particle of air, collectively adding it all up to composing an incisive or insightful whole that reflects intelligent intent, singular discipline and great fun.

He’s also one to experiment, it seems, to make it even more of a gas for him.

His art is a jazz comedy event from outer space, rooted in what he sees around himself that we get to be a part of. Thanks for that! He’s done HUGE pieces if I remember correctly that have the same, almost Alice in Wonderland, Magical Mystery Tour flair to them as well as smaller illustrations and compositions. A spark of surrealism is what I’m referring to.

Experiencing Rob’s stuff, if you find the right pieces, is like witnessing a tongue in cheek William S. Burroughs live reading, if it were drawn or painted. Look at them once and get a feeling or vibe. Look at them again and they take on a whole different tone. Did he subliminally infuse the music of Jefferson Airplane, Allee Willis or the jazz psychedelic funk of Sun Ra within his artistic shapes? That sneaky man! Don’t forget to add a hint of the comic brutality of pioneer Pop Surrealist art icon Peter Saul. Then voila! Rob Sussman art.

Did I mention I’m reminded of British cartooning and French graphic novels from Heavy Metal magazine or the drawings of John and Sean Lennon. Yep, BOTH of them and that’s a good thing in my book. Somehow, that’s all in there when I open my eyes and look at what he’s done. Did I mention it’s a joy, the art? It is. A joy.

That’s what I get when I look at his work. Take a look and see what you think.

Rob Sussman’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Paper, The Progressive, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, New York Press and The NY Times Book Review. Rob was born and grew up in New York City. He studied at the School of Visual Arts and Otis College of Art & Design. Rob lives and works in Los Angeles. You can reach out to him on his website at: or on

Chris Bonno photo by Dan Dion
Chris Bonno photo by Dan Dion

Chris Bonno received his Bachelor Degree in Studio Art, with Honors, at the University of Texas at Austin. His paintings are owned by many show-biz industry fans and his Conan O’Brien piece was the number one fan art piece at for over a year. Chris has illustrated for National Lampoon Magazine, the Writer’s Guild of America magazine, the LA Weekly and the Austin Chronicle and is currently a regular illustrator for The American Bystander magazine “an essential read for comedy nerds”(quote by the New York Times).  He has illustrated books for “Tonight Show” writer T. Sean Shannon and comedian John Marks. His art has also been featured on various TV shows including “Talk Soup”, “Caroline in the City” and “Gilmore Girls.” Many of his recent works can be found in the article written about him called “The Art of Comedy” by publisher and editor Tony Shea. Chris Bonno can be reached at and

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