Meet an Artopian: Bob O’Lary

artopia2016-bio-OLaryBob.jpgWhen did you start making art?
I didn’t consider my photography was actually “making art” until I noticed that others considered it so. It was 1976, and the newspaper I worked for started getting a lot of nice comments about my work as being “Artistic”. That got me thinking in that direction.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration as an artist?
Robert Maplethorpe and Helmut Newton were my early inspirations for photographic art. They transcended the mechanics of photography, and created, visceral, mind-expanding images that caused me to grow in directions I had never considered before. Before them, I was just a documentarian.

If you could meet one famous artist (alive or dead), who would it be?
Salvador Dali, no question! He lived his art in every way, and I’d LOVE to experience his creativity in person.

If you had one superpower, what would it be, and why?
The ability to fly. As a photographer, simply being “present” in person is imperative for my line of work. If I could fly, I could always be where I needed to be, on time, and ready to record important images.

Why did you donate to Artopia?
Artist Ron Yrabedra’s continued contributions inspired me, as Ron has done for my artistic career time and time again. I am more than happy to contribute.

To learn more about Bob’s work, visit his website at

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