Meet Bob Sober
“The subject of my work for the past four years is insects, some living, but most not. My attitude is that the insect is the artwork. My role is to create a human scale image that may allow the viewer to see the patterns, textures, colors, and details that have always been present, but too small to appreciate.” –Bob Sober
Please join us in welcoming Holland Hall 2018 ARTworks Artist-in-Residence, Bob Sober!
About Bob Sober
Growing up in Tulsa, Bob Sober found himself lucky to live next to Joe Creek (in its natural state), which provided an endless supply of bugs, snakes, and frogs — enough to give him a lifelong curiosity about the world around him.
In high school, he became an Eagle Scout, but perhaps, more importantly, he met his future wife. Both attended Oklahoma State University, where he majored in Architecture, and she majored in Interior Design. Married to Sandy since 1971, they have two grown sons, both successful working visual artists.
Architectural work is largely feast or famine. Curiosity allowed Bob to find a way that the workflow could be stabilized, providing job security for him and others. His firm grew to more than 600 with headquarters in Tulsa and offices in Bethesda, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Irvine, and Mexico City, primarily due to his curiosity around how clients and employees could be better served.
After 27 years, Bob retired from practicing architecture and pursues art, photography and community volunteer work with non-profit organizations. He is an artist currently working in extreme macro photography but has also done an extensive body of work in oil paint and charcoal drawing. His curiosity continually provides not only new subject matter but ways to do thing differently.
“I hope that my images stir a new curiosity in the viewer as they have in me. A sense of wonder about the world around them, a desire to learn more…”
Exhibits and Inspiration
Mid-America Arts Alliance Traveling Exhibition, multiple locations
JRB art at the Elms, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, Florida
Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Joseph Gierek Fine Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Performing Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Nature Conservancy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
108 Contemporary, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Hardesty Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Oklahoma State University played a significant role in Bob’s work. They opened the doors of their entomology museum allowing him the freedom to explore, learn, and create among the thousands on insects in their collection. Today 30 of Bob’s images may be found throughout the department.
Art and Community
Tulsa Master Gardeners, 2004–2012
Mission: help people living in Tulsa County with common problems with growing plants. The OSU Extension office directs the program. Bob’s role was teaching students K-2nd grade about spiders, insects, and earthworms. Additionally, he served as a mentor to help the new class (40 new volunteers each year) become comfortable teaching in elementary schools
Tulsa Arts Commission, 2007–2015
Mission: support art in Tulsa. Bob helped select the artists and commissioned artwork for all buildings built by the City of Tulsa during this time. One percent of the construction cost was spent on public artwork. Two significant project built during the nine years he served on the Arts commission were BOK Center, Tulsa’s new arena, and the Cox Business Center. The construction cost of these two facilities totaled about $330M allowing the Arts Commission to invest about $3.3M in public art for the City of Tulsa.
Mission: update the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Tulsa. Bob served on the Steering Committee in 2007 to select the consultant and as Chair of the Citizens Team, 2008–2010, helpin the Citizens Team to work with the consultant, engage the public (10,000 active participants); define our shared vision of Tulsa, revise Tulsa’s existing Comprehensive Plan, and vet the plan through public hearings. The revised Comprehensive Plan received the unanimous approval of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and the Tulsa City Council.
Living Arts of Tulsa, Board member 2008–2010
Mission: design, fund, and construct Living Arts of Tulsa relocating to their present facility.
Tulsa Preservation Commission, 2008–2010
Mission: support preservation of historic structures in Tulsa. Bob served a Chair in 2010; successful at making historic preservation a high priority in Tulsa’s updated Comprehensive Plan.
Urban Core Art Project, 2012–present.
Four members of the Tulsa Arts Commission — Joan Seay, Linda Frazier, Holbrook Lawson, and Bob Sober — formed the Urban Core Art Project to bring Temporary Public Art to the City of Tulsa. They defined our purpose, established a steering committee, developed a short list of artists for our first project, raised money from private donations, wrote an RFP, selected an artist and commissioned Tulsa’s temporary art project in Downtown Tulsa. The project opened in April of 2015 at 3rd Street and Detroit Avenue. The second project is planned for the “Center of the Universe” and will open in May of 2016. The third project opened in April of 2018 at the Chapman Green on 6th Street between Main and Boston. Each project is owned by the artist and will be removed after 12 months.