As a little boy, Robert dreamed of becoming a zoo keeper. Today, the lions, tigers and elephants that roamed his imagination are given new life in his dazzling paintings.

History and Background

For as long as he can remember, Robert Oxley has loved painting. As a child, one of his drawings was published in a book called ‘Getting Ready For School’ and sent to nursery children all over the world. 

Robert developed a passion for wildlife and, longing to be a zoo keeper, began to make and paint dioramas for imaginary zoos. At the age of 12, he accepted a challenge from his grandfather to draw all the birds in an illustrated book of birds they both loved. To his surprise, his grandfather then arranged an exhibition of them at his workplace!

Robert attempted an art A-level at school and a degree later in life, but found both too repetitive. As a result, he is entirely self-taught, explaining: “Everything I know I taught myself from watching and doing. If I saw something I liked, I’d try it myself and I never give up on a piece.”

Ideas and Inspirations

Immersing himself in pop surrealism and influenced by artists such as Robert Crumb, Glenn Brown and Robert Williams, Robert presents us with what he calls a ‘psychedelic natural history’.

His latest collection, Instinct, fuses Robert's eclectic taste in music with his love of animals and is influenced by bands including Pearl Jam, Metallica and Slipknot. 

View the body of work here

From Palette to Picture

Using acrylic on canvas, the approach to Robert’s work is all about being in the moment and giving himself over to the process and the chemistry that he has nurtured over the years.

His work seems to have been created quickly and loosely, but on inspection every brushstroke is considered and painted meticulously. He explains: "My work appears loose and free but is in fact complex, which is what nature is all about."