POWHATAN, Va. — The rhythm and sound of life swirl around Robert Meganck.
“So I’m a huge music fan,” Robert explained.
Powhatan Man needs music like humans need oxygen. Browsing through its collection of CDs and vinyls, you’ll find a wide range of artists.
“Etta James so she’s in there.” Led Zeppelin is here,” Robert said.
Music defines this Detroit native so much that his nickname growing up was Motown. He saw the legends in concert. From Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to The Who.
The married father of three’s other love is illustration.
He is professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University, a place where he taught art for 40 years. The two passions will intersect and prove to be his savior in the spring of 2020.
When his favorite singer John Prine died two years ago, Robert was devastated.
“I guess it hits you as hard as it can when someone you look up to dies,” Robert said.
At the same time, the COVID isolation was suffocating and wearing on Robert. He started drawing in his home art studio.
“So it’s like I know how to keep busy.”
He didn’t draw just anything. But music that resonates. Robert did not stop.
“I’m not going to complain about it. I’m going to do something that makes me happy,” Robert said.
Robert calls it the “See What I Hear” project. The project is his interpretation of classical tunes.
“It’s about being able to express yourself,” he said.
Each piece takes about a day or two to complete. From “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Turtle Blues” to “Acid Queen”.
Since her debut two years ago, the artist has created 112 pieces. Every Wednesday, Robert publishes a new illustration on social networks.
“You know, my two sons keep asking me for a clue. ‘What are you going to do next week. Give me a hint,” Robert said.
He gains a healthy following of admirers.
“A lot of people when I first started doing these things were like, ‘I think I’m going to release my old album. Because I had forgotten how good they were and stuff like that,” Robert described.
His works also garnered critical attention nationwide.
“I do this because it makes me happy. It’s fun,” Robert said.
His rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” earned him a spot in Communication Art Magazine’s 63rd Annual Illustration Competition.
“When someone like Communication Arts or American Illustration recognizes what you’ve done, it’s ‘Woah! Anyone else like this! said Robert.
Of nearly 3,700 entries, only 147 were selected.
“Can it really get any better than this. I can’t imagine how that could. I can’t imagine how it could get any better,” he said.
Robert said his project helped him endure two years of COVID misery.
“Is this the way out? Absolutely, it’s a way out,” Robert said.
Now that we are coming out of the pandemic, Robert has no intention of ending his project. Why pull the plug if the music never stops and the beat continues?
“I have a stack of songs I want to do,” Robert said. “No, I’m not going to stop. No. Why would I? It’s a good life.
One of Robert Meganck’s goals is to exhibit each piece in a gallery so that more people can enjoy it.
If you want to own one, the artist sells his prints, check out Saatchi Art at saatchiart.com.
If you know anyone with an interesting story, email me at [email protected]