Colette Robbins

Fine Artist

Confidence takes practice, but you need it if you want to be successful and thrive.

Psychology has been a major theme throughout the career of New York artist Colette Robbins. “Understanding how our brains function, why we react to certain stimuli the way we do, and especially how we are always trying to make meaning out of abstract things is my passion,” she says. “As humans, we’re always seeking to understand, because we’re meaning-making machines,” she says. Art, she believes, is just another way to find meaning in our lives. “Ultimately, art is a manifestation of a person’s extreme curiosity about the world outside of them and trying to put that into something solid,” she explains. 

Colette’s own curiosity was born in fifth grade, when she started experimenting with oil painting. During high school, she toted her portfolio to her local college, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and told them she wanted to take college classes. “If you have drive, you can be creative,” she says. “And then you should practice creativity, because really, creativity is a type of problem solving.” After high school, she attended art school, and earned her undergrad degree at the Maryland Institute of Art and her graduate degree at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. 

Higher education didn’t teach Colette how to be creative. She wholeheartedly believes it’s not something that has to be taught. But, higher education did expose her to a community of like-minded people, and she urges all people with a creative dream to find their community. “Finding the right people around you to give you really honest feedback, the kind that’s going to strengthen your vision, is so important.” If curiosity and community are the cornerstones of her creative practice, the third point of the triangle is confidence. “It’s extremely important to just trust that you are worth being out there, while still respecting your inner critic. There should be a nice balance of trust and pushing, and trust and pushing, and those are the things in life that take practice. Confidence takes practice, but you need it if you want to be successful and thrive.”

Stories & Surroundings

Photography by Agnes Thor Written by Caroline Ryder Directed by Alex Amoling