Robert A. Ketchens, born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, began his career with the United States Air Force. His military service as a Medical illustrator in Biloxi, Mississippi and at the USAF Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany laid the groundwork for his studies in fine art in Germany, where he visited the various art museums throughout Europe. He became enraptured with what he saw. He enrolled in the Atelier of Herr Herzfield, a local German artist, where he learned to master the practical aspects of easel painting, from canvas preparation to color mixing and glazing. A large part of his training was to copy paintings in the museums of Europe. This training along with personal experimentation in paint, laid the foundation that continue to enable him to transfer his vision onto canvas with absolute confidence. In Fort Worth, Texas, Robert experienced the masters of southwestern art, locally housed in the AmonCarterMuseum. There he exhibited paintings that increasingly became more colorful and more intense that his earlier works produced in Europe.
In 1985 Robert relocated to the Midwest, and in 1986, he opened a studio in St. Louis, Missouri and began to take an active role in the local art community. In 1990, he retired from the field of medical illustration to give full attention to fine art. Robert constantly creates art. He teaches privately, and participates as an arts educator in several community arts programs in St. Louis, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, Young Audiences and Artworks of St. Louis. Robert has completed several important commissions.
To date, Robert has exhibited internationally as well as in the States of Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and the District of Columbia. His art is in significant corporate and private collections. He has participated in numerous solo and groups exhibitions. Robert has continued to experiment with his color pallet, presenting strong vivid colors reminiscent of his Southern roots, and pastels that evoke familiarity with a shared history of people.
Ketchens was featured on Public Broadcasting station WSIU-TV – “Expressions” http://watch.wsiu.org/video/2278972561