|Robert Rivera has spent a lot of time studying various Native American cultures and art for inspiration. He loves the old designs present in prehistoric and historic Native American cultures such as Anasazi, Hohokam, Mimbres bird and animal designs, Acoma geometric, petroglyphs--especially kokopelli and all varieties of kachinas including standing figures and masks.
Robert's gourd art has included Hopi Butterfly Maidens, Zuni Water Maidens. Giant storytellers with as many as 28 babies each with it's own personality, turtle storytellers, Apache Burden Basket Ladies, Stick Ladies, Papoose Ladies, rattles with animals like buffalos, turtles, rabbits, birds such as cranes, ravens, quail, owls and hummingbirds and masks of every description and color.
Whether you are just discovering the beautiful gourd art of Robert or you have been watching his work evolve over the years, one thing is certain--just when you think he has thought of everything to do with a gourd, this self-taught artist will come up with yet another breathtaking creation that will capture your heart and color your imagination.
"I am not the first person to recognize the beauty of gourds. Gourds were probably the first untensils of mankind. They have been found in ancient tombs in many parts of the world. The Indians used them for centuries in many utilitarian ways and for ceremonial purposes. My wife and I were the first, as far as I know, to use gourds as a fine art medium in a contemporary southwestern fashion. I get a lot of my inspiration from the Native American people, but most of the pieces I create come directly out of my head. I just get a gourd and start working. My work is constantly evolving. I always want to be moving ahead. Sometimes I lie awake at night so excited by new ideas that I can't sleep."