"I’m not the type of artist who would continue making a large body of work if there wasn’t a way for it to be seen,” says Rob Delamater, in-between bites of shoestring fries at Woodside’s The Village Bakery. “A lot of artists are fine with that. … They can stockpile all this artwork, and maybe they even have a hard time conceiving of letting it go. I’m the opposite. The opportunity to have my work be enjoyed and displayed, that is a part of my inspiration.”
Seated in the back room of TVB—the latest culinary offering from Bacchus Management Group—Delamater is surrounded by his works, many of which reflect his art history background. There’s the gouache self-portrait that channels Roman busts. A series of ink drawings, created during a residency in France this summer, was inspired by the faces in paintings at Paris’ Musée d’Orsay. About two-thirds of the 45 pieces hanging in TVB are by Delamater; the rest are from his Lost Art Salon, which he opened with Gaétan Caron 14 years ago. While the San Francisco gallery specializes in the rediscovery of artists forgotten over time—like Ross Curtis, whose oeuvre was in storage for years and exhibited at LAS after his death—the business partners sell their own art through it as well. On Dec. 1, Delamater begins a two-month show at LAS, Chateau Life, an assemblage completed during the recent residency.
In addition to TVB, which bowed in July, Delamater has collaborated with Bacchus on The Saratoga restaurant in San Francisco, Pizza Antica in Danville and The Village Pub, also in Woodside. “I’m really into creating artwork that is suited to a particular environment,” Delamater explains. “I’m interested in the success of the pieces once they are installed. I think about that a lot in the making of them; that is part of my creative process.”
The collection on the walls at TVB, which includes simplified portraitures alongside abstracts, is awash in blues and grays with jolts of yellow. Using wood, books and heavy wire, Delamater also devised a sculpture for the eatery. Although sculptures are a rarity for him, he embraced the commission. For a Bacchus project in Atherton that is still in its early stages, Delamater is considering murals—which would mark a first for him. “Art is all about problem-solving,” he says. “How do you bring an idea that you have into the world and how do you create something? When I’m given a challenge like that, I immediately go into problem-solving mode—and then I get excited to do the work.”
Originally published in the November/December issue of Silicon Valley