“At times the responsibilities of professional and adult life had distracted me from staying true to what has always been an important part of my life – experiencing new and different things – visuals, cultures, and people. The renewal process helped me more fully understand how to be creative and focused in my life. I need periods of self-reflection that only come when traveling away from my everyday routine.”
Painting professor at Herron School of Art and Design, Robert Horvath began his journey in Dubai, where he spent time exploring the new landscapes and old world remnants. During the next four weeks, he made his way through the northern and central regions of India with stops in Rajasthan and at the Ellora and Ajanta Caves, Unesco World Heritage sites. He navigated through Mumbai, and moved on to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. On the trip, he saw numerous temples, immersed himself in local festivals, and made many new friends. He says of his travels, “I gained new perspectives about the privileges afforded by being born and living in the Western world. All my senses were on high alert; I saw and heard acutely. I felt truly alive.”
Horvath’s two and a half months backpacking invigorated him. A new appreciation for everyday life helped him again feel inspired by the landscape and culture of Indianapolis. Horvath goes on to explain how the fellowship came at a crucial time in his professional life. His feelings of professional and artistic burnout left him longing for a new experience, something momentous and life-affirming. The Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship did exactly that. The fellowship coincided with his teaching sabbatical and now, back in his studio, he is able to focus on a new body of work he had planned long before the grant process but that now seems fresh and exhilarating.
The opportunities that emerged from this process are twofold for Horvath. He not only feels refueled in the classroom and studio, he has made connections with other artists at the international level and is hoping to work alongside them. “While in Udaipur, India I discovered that the long-standing tradition of miniature painting has been kept very alive. I was inspired by the delicate craftsmanship of these miniature artists and am developing a proposal that may allow me collaborate with these artists.”