A Couple of Artists Q&A with Pamela Joseph and Robert Brinker on art, love and togetherness.

It’s Valentine’s Day so we’ve naturally got love on the brain. At Twyla, we have a few artists in our family who happen to be couples as well. We reached out to Aspen-based artist pair Pamela Joseph and Robert Brinker and asked them to answer seven questions about their relationship, their art, and how it all intersects. (When you’re done, check out our other artist couple Q&A).

1. How did you meet and what struck you about the other at first?

Pamela: We met at Anderson Ranch, an arts organization in Snowmass, Colorado. I liked Rob right away. He was smart and funny and we talked so easily.

Robert: I liked Pam’s open-minded attitude and her willingness to learn and collaborate.

Pamela in her studio.
Pamela in her studio.
Robert in his studio.
Robert in his studio.

2. What's the best thing about being together with a fellow artist?

Pamela: It motivates me to work and to strive more. Our studios are adjacent and it’s great to have someone nearby to discuss your work and to be supportive of your efforts.

Robert: I like the sense of community and always having someone there to bounce around ideas. It also acts as a means of motivation.


3. How are your artistic and creative processes similar or different?

Pamela: Our artistic practices are quite similar, but our end products are very different. We both use process as a means of development. Right now, we’re both cutting out shapes, painting and assembling them into constructions. We never discussed our ideas with each other. It must be by osmosis!

Robert: Like Pamela mentioned, our work may not look similar, but our approaches are closely related, especially in terms of collage and layering. We’re both working on pieces now that get away from the traditional paint on stretched canvas format, even though we didn’t talk about it beforehand.

"Daddy Long Legs" by Robert Brinker. For sale on Twyla.com.
"Censored Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 3) by Duchamp" by Pamela Joseph. For sale on Twyla.com.

4. What's your favorite work of art by your partner and why?

Pamela: I don’t know if I have just one favorite. I am a big fan of Rob’s work and I think he is so talented. His paintings, collages and photos are all terrific. He just had a show of cut-paper dragons that was a knockout. But his current work is probably what I am into right now; it’s so fun, intricate and dynamic.

Robert: Tough question. Pam has so many small sketches, studies and maquettes that I love. She is a great drawer. She also just finished a great little collage with pigs on multiple sheets of transparent paper. But, I would probably choose her large-scale, multimedia installation called The Sideshow of the Absurd. Each piece in the installation is truly amazing because it involves so many different mediums, ideas and commentaries. Maybe it’s best to say I really enjoy her work and it’s too hard to pick just one!

"Vampire Academy" by Robert Brinker.
"Vampire Academy" by Robert Brinker.
"Pigs is Pigs" by Pamela Joseph.
"Pigs is Pigs" by Pamela Joseph.

5. What museum (anywhere in the world!) would you like to exhibit in together one day?

Pamela: Probably the Venice Biennale; it’s such an exciting venue with artists from all over the world. Plus, we love Italy!! 

Robert: Agreed. Who wouldn’t want to show work in any one of the amazing venues in Venice? Plus it’s in Italy. Bonus.

6. What's your greatest accomplishment or best memory together?

Pamela: We have a terrific time wherever we go. Being in two group shows in Beijing at the same time—one with the Institute of Electronic Arts and the other at the National Arts Museum of China—were definitely highlights.

Robert: We have had many and hopefully many more to come. Another highlight was the two winters we spent in Rome at The American Academy of Rome as visiting artists.

Rob and Pam at his show in Denver this year.
Rob and Pam at his show in Denver this year.

7. What do you think the secret sauce to a solid relationship is?

Pamela: Rob and I get along really well. We have similar tastes and interests and work and live very comfortably together. We have been together a long time now and spend a lot of time together, but both of us give the other a lot of space, which as artists we truly need.

Robert: I think it helped that we were friends first and also spent time around each other with our shared friends. We also give each other space, even though we spend most of our time together.