The Artist Trebor
(AKA Rob Stephenson)
Life is an ongoing exploration of ’things’
After 50+ years of discovery and creation, I am now at THAT junction, on THAT road where design crosses paths with abstract expression, visual communication and surrealism.
Out of the resulting chaos springs my art.
Being multidisciplinary allows me the freedom to meander through myriad mediums. Scrutinising them, analysing them, learning about them and then applying them, to bring together things that have not been seen together before.
A brief history
Rob was born and bred in a small rural community called Ohariu Valley, 15 minutes out of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
As a boy, Rob would draw on anything and everything, much to his parent’s dismay. Walls. Doors. Windows… anything. Even paper sometimes. LOL.
Giving in to his artistic endeavours and avoiding more cleaning and redecorating bills, they allowed him to paint murals on his bedroom walls.
Rob would sit and draw and paint at every opportunity. His love of art carried on through primary and secondary school, where he was a leading influencer to paint murals on the outer walls of the classroom blocks.
His father also introduced Rob to black and white photography in his early teens. This is another artistic outlet he really enjoys. They used the home laundry, converted into a makeshift darkroom, to produce many original and interesting images.
Among many artistic accolades, Rob took out second place in a high school art competition at age 13yrs. During his high school years (college they call it in NZ) Rob’s art teacher, Brian Wong, saw huge potential in Rob’s creative thinking so encouraged him to pursue a ‘Commercial Artists’ course. After finishing college with art, technical drawing, woodwork and metalwork skills under his belt, he studied for 3 years full-time, plus night school, at what was then Wellington Polytechnic, graduating in 1985. While under the enormous pressure of deadlines from the Visual Communications Design & Photography Course, Rob still found time to paint and draw, even selling some works.
Prior to study Rob took a gap year and worked for Camera House, further extending his knowledge of photography and the finer workings of photographic equipment.
After graduating from Polytech he landed a junior art director position in an international ad agency.
This is ultimately his career path to date, which took him away from NZ and over to Australia, spending 12 years in Sydney and the past 20+ years on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
A career that saw Rob working in many multinational ad agencies in Wellington, Sydney and Brisbane, creating many award-winning campaigns, mainly in Direct Marketing. This part of his career honed Rob’s creative and paper engineering skills along with countless other creative skills.
He’s been a Senior Art Director and Associate Creative Director with numerous Multi-national Advertising Agencies including Mojo Partners Direct, DDB Direct Sydney, Ammirati Puris Lintas Direct, Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Clemenger Direct and also did a stint at Saatchi & Saatchi NZ, amongst other big names.
As an Art Director Rob has been very privileged to have worked with many of the best photographers and illustrators/painters in Australia and New Zealand. Rob gleaned much from this multiplicity of talent during the past 30+ years resulting in a plethora of painted works and taken untold photographic images of his own.
Rob currently runs his own Design Consultancy, The AD Man – Rob Stephenson, which has been successfully creating graphics and marketing materials for the past 20+ years.
Rob is a truly creative thinker with design skills across all media including Direct Marketing, Graphic Design, Corporate Identity, Photography and Retouching, Illustration and more.
More recently Rob has been turning his mind back to the ‘Art World’.
This year he has decided it is high time he got involved and showcased more of his work.
Photography, sculpture and mixed media are the focus at this stage.
Rob draws inspiration from everywhere. His goal is to always create interesting, witty, thought-provoking art, photography, sculptures and environmental art.
Kicking off this newfound adventure, Rob has already exhibited at the internationally acclaimed Swell Festival 2021 and Swell Smalls Gallery, Sculptures On The Edge – Maleny, Sculpture In The Vines – Sirromet Winery and has a few pieces in the 33 Park Road pop-up Exhibition, selling a few pieces already. Not a bad start hey?!
1 – Gold Mobius (Chicago)
3 – Silver ADMA awards
1 – Bronze ADMA award
5 – Finalists in ADMA awards
(additional to awards)
1 – Silver BAD Club
2 – Bronze BAD Club
1 – Finalist New York Festivals
2 – Finalists New York Globals
Here’s a quick snippet of my historical ‘art and design’ moments to date.
2022 – On-Going
‘Ephemera’ Seaside Sculptures – Townsville QLD 2023 (Upcoming)
Sculptors Queensland Exhibition – Sculpture In The Vines – Sirromet Winery 22/23
Arts Connect Inc Exhibition – Sculpture On The Edge 22
Swell Sculpture Festival 2022 Incl. Swell Smalls
Sculptors Queensland Exhibition – Sculptures By The Wharf – Brisbane 22/23
Sculptors Queensland Exhibition – Northshore – Brisbane
Sculptors Queensland Exhibition – Brisbane Sculpture Festival
Sculptors Queensland Exhibition – Lockyer Valley Art Gallery
Bluethumb Online Art Gallery
2021 – The Artist Trebor Emerges
Swell Sculpture Festival 2021 Incl. Swell Smalls
Sculptures On the Edge 2021
Sculptures In The Vines 2021/22
Sculptors Queensland Pop-Up Exhibition – Park Road Milton
Restaurant J – Varsity Lakes QLD
2007 to Present – CD*/Designer The AD Man – Rob Stephenson.
2000 – AD* – Freelance – Sole Trader, Brisbane & Gold Coast.
1999 – AD* – DDB Direct, Sydney.
1998 – AD* – Ammirati Puris Lintas Direct, Sydney.
1997 – AD* – Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Sydney.
1994 – ACD* – Clemenger Direct, Sydney.
1993 – AD* – Freelance for 8 months.
1992 – AD* – Doorley Abram Davis & Chapman. Sydney.
1991 – AD* – Mattingly & Partners, Sydney.
1990 – AWARD School. Graduated in the top 5 of 120 students.
1989 – AD* – Ian Kennon Advertising, Sydney.
1988 – AD* – Raponi Magno Advertising, Sydney.
1987 – AD* – Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Wellington.
1986 – AD* – Ted Bates Advertising
1985 – Diploma in Visual Communication Design.
*AD = Art Director *ACD = Associate Creative Director *CD = Creative Director