We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Fathauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robert, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m from Decatur, Illinois originally. My dad grew up on a farm outside Decatur, but he became an engineer and started several small businesses in his career. Seeing him run a business and create products may have planted the bug in me that eventually led to my starting my own business. His interest in electronics also exposed me to personal computers at an early age, initially an Apple II when I was in high school, around 1976/7.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always created art and have worked in a variety of mediums. In high school and college I used oil and acrylic paint, and my art didn’t have a particular focus. After I finished my PhD I started intentionally incorporating math in my art. I learned traditional printmaking techniques, but eventually moved to digital prints. In recent years ceramic sculpture has been my primary medium. I think my math knowledge and skill set enable me to create artistic forms that other artists wouldn’t think of or know how to execute. There have been many tools and techniques that I learned or developed in order to realize my ideas. I think my work is highly unique, and I get excited about creating forms that no one has imagined before.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
To me what’s really special about Arizona is the natural beauty and unusual plants, animals, and geology. Natural forms are a major inspiration in my work, so I would want to show off the plants and animals of the desert, but even more the beauty of canyons and other geological formations. Particular favorites of mine include the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and features like White Pocket, Buckskin Gulch, and Pawhole in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. I’d be sure to fit in some really good Mexican food, such as Los Dos Molinos.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The Bridges Organization puts on an annual conference on connections between mathematics and the arts. It’s a forum where like-minded people from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds come together to share their work, exchange ideas, and encourage creativity.