Bobby Hill, born in 1973, is a New York-based visual artist whose career started as an illustrator. He began painting on canvas in 2008 after returning to the U.S. from his first trip overseas. His recent canvases combine ripped NYC billboard posters with elements of abstract expressionism, pop imagery and graffiti to create what he calls “The Bhillboards Collection.”
He has been behind the scenes for years, going from helping the Ecko Unlimited Company sell their first six designs at a Harlem summer street festival, to having his work commissioned by Coca Cola, Nike, XXL Magazine, Slam Magazine, and the Source Magazine. He has also been featured in Mass Appeal Magazine, Gen Art, Max Fish, The Grey Worldwide Gallery, The Art Directors Club, a number of events in Chelsea, Soho, Williamsburg, Bushwick, NYC, as well as several galleries in Europe.
In 2010, Hill produced his first art event and promoted it by hiding $50,000 worth of art prints around the streets and trains of NYC. In Spring 2012, he completed his “New Era In Art” European tour and visited Barcelona, Copenhagen and Freiburg Germany with “The Bhillboards Collection.”
Hill also created the custom cover artwork for the in-room guest directories at The James in Chicago, New York and Miami.
At the age of six, Hill attended a Michael Jackson concert at Madison Square Garden with a schoolmate and her mother. There was a strange looking guy with white hair sitting right in front of them who asked to take their picture. After he took the photo, he asked the girl’s mother who the guy was and she told him it was Andy Warhol. He then asked her what he did for a living and her answer was that he would find out when he got older. Years later he did some research, found out all about “The Factory” and how Warhol used screen-printing to create his art. This chance encounter is what got Hill interested in the silkscreen process.
Coca Cola and the Development of a New Style
After the Coca Cola commission in 2001, where Hill produced 100 original screenprints for their top executives on the east coast, he was able to take some time off and briefly make art for art’s sake. During this period he stopped drawing and began to experiment with color by throwing it around on paper reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. This allowed him to first understand how color corresponds to one another. When he took it a step further and finally added images to it, he began to understand how various colors could make the same image feel entirely different.
First Time Overseas
Hill returned to art in 2007 after a long hiatus filled with odd jobs, freelance commercial illustration work and tee shirt designs. Using the technique he learned in 2001, he created a collection of works on paper, sold them in Williamsburg and ended up meeting a lady from Spain. She proposed the idea of having an art show in her hometown and at the end of 2008 she pulled her resources together and made it happen. Hill traveled to Spain for the first time and in conjunction with an upscale restaurant, doubling as an art gallery, the show opened and all the pieces sold. In the days following, he traveled through London and Paris, grabbing billboard posters off the walls to use in his art for when he returned to the states. Once back, Hill created his first collection of paintings on canvas and sold each one.