On The Verge submission - Bob Rhea
Born in Corona, California, raised in Independence, Missouri, and finishing his education in Texas, Bob Rhea often says his parents had gypsy feet. Perhaps that accounts for the bright colors and deep emotion featured in his paintings.
Having always been a creative kid and avid model builder, Bob pursued his degree in Illustration & Graphic Design at Sam Houston State University. He then spent 12 years in Austin, TX as a prototype model builder for companies such as Dell, NASA, and IBM Corp. His attention to detail and precision skills are highly developed from these years of professional work.
In 2002, Bob and his wife Jen, a photographer, decided to abandon their corporate lifestyle in Austin and pursue a dream of business ownership. After selling everything, and spending a year on research at their family’s farm in rural Tennessee, the two decided that Asheville, NC was the next step in pursuing an idea of a funky coffeehouse. Kismet Café was established just 6 months later. The two created a monthly rotation of local art exhibits, taking no commission but keeping one original piece from each artist.
Having done much of the build out of Kismet Café, then a complete restoration after the floods of 2005, Bob had put his craftsmanship to work to build unique furniture and fixtures for the space. (He also attributes much of his humorous perspective on his current art to the couple’s experiences running and working at the café.) From Kismet Café came the Rhea’s current custom fabrication business, Acme Industrial Thinking. Bob spends his days creating custom architectural pieces, multimedia art signage, and furniture. Not surprisingly, his paintings are a great departure from his business’ wood and steel work.