Robert -Dr. Bob- Shaffer

Mixed Media / New Orleans, LA

Artist Statement

I express my visionary point-of-view concerning Louisiana & New Orleans, in every piece I make, which requires a variety of disciplines and techniques including carpentry, carving, metal-working (soldering, welding, casting), casting of glass, plaster; plastic molding/forming; glitter; sometimes printmaking to include linocuts, silk-screening, yam-stamping, every kind of paint, especially recycled house paint in oil and acrylic, paint pens, and spray paint directly from the can. Most of the materials I use are recycled detritus and architectural salvage.


New Orleans self-taught folk artist Dr. Bob has made the phrase 'Be Nice or Leave' as much a part of his identity as the found objects he transforms into his artwork. Half Crow Indian and half French/German, Dr. Bob was born in Kansas in 1952 and came to New Orleans via Lake Pontchartrain. It was while he lived 'across the lake' that he became familiar with the alligator, an image that appears repeatedly in his work. Creatures from the bayou, the characters of the Quarter, and the spirits and demons of the Crescent City are all captured in the visionary paintings and assemblages created from architectural salvage, and numerous found objects from the city, the river, and the swamp.

Previous to being a full-time artist, which he did not achieve until after 30 years of age, Dr. Bob worked a variety of jobs, each of which has enhanced his craftsmanship in the variety of techniques required as a true mixed-media artist, as well as his powers of observation necessary to express his vision. These jobs included: pastry roller for Hubig's Pies; Forest Ranger for the State of Louisiana; and a multitude of construction jobs including the high steel on several buildings in the New Orleans skyline.

Dr. Bob has been at his current studio location for 15 years, where he continues to be sought out by collectors, visitors, and media as a local cultural icon.