ProBlak created the graffiti art scene in Boston

 

Rob “Problak” Gibbs grew up in Roxbury, MA venturing between Lenox St. apartments and Orchard Park projects. From a young age, he had a vision of beautifying the ghettos of Boston with graffiti art - an art form that is frequently overlooked, undervalued and misunderstood. 

The concept that a picture is worth an infinite amount of words inspired Rob and provided him with the opportunity to take ownership of one of our culture’s modern hieroglyphics: graffiti. He developed a vision of beautifying Boston purely by instinct, experiencing his “calling” as a young man, a child of the hip-hop golden age. The need to place social consciousness in hip-hop culture is a driving force behind Problak’s creativity. His work impels the viewer to allow imagination to become a playground for testing boundaries and breaking rules. 

Rob is a painter, muralist and graffiti artist who was one of six urban teens to co-found the non-profit youth development organization, Artists For Humanity (AFH) in 1991. Through this innovative non-profit organization, he has been blessed with a career in the arts that has spanned decades and has been able to work as a mentor to young people in the creative process. As AFH’s Paint Studio Director, Rob applies his experiences as an academic scholarship winner, an Americorps Fellow, and a Prudential Youth Leadership Fellow, to overseeing the art studios, leading the painting instruction, and serving as a key team member in AFH’s efforts to expand into neighboring communities, sharing the proven youth development model of arts and entrepreneurship training. Problak has demonstrated a continued commitment to passing on the tools, techniques and traditions he has learned to the next generation of artists, serving as both mentor and inspiration to countless young people through his work as a co-founder and studio manager at Artists for Humanity.

Rob has conducted arts/youth mentoring workshops for Girls, Inc., The Boston Foundation, Boston Housing Authority, and Youth Build, Washington, DC. Gibbs is a recipient of a number of awards, including The Goodnight Initiative’s Civic Artist Award, and The Mass Industry Committee’s 2006 Graffiti Artist of the Year award. He has also served as a guest lecturer, teaching one-day sessions on graffiti art and culture to students in Northeastern University’s Foundations of Black Culture: HipHop course. With an extensive repertoire in several media, Problak’s work has challenged both the viewer and himself the artist, to see and celebrate graffiti’s evolution for over 15 years. His work as a solo artist and as a member of Boston’s A.L.A crew, has been seen across the world, in exhibitions such as All City Evolution, at the Fourth Wall Gallery in Boston, MA, and The Sharpie Show at Crewest in Los Angeles,CA.


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