The One Love Collective is a movement of Charleston designers and makers, creating and collaborating, in an effort to showcase and identify Charleston design.

The following was one of several articles written by Hannah Nelson, highlighting each member of the Collective, which ran February through March of 2017.

The One Love Collective is excited to introduce Robert Maniscalco, a master of versatility and artist going on 40 years and counting! Although he found his calling as a painter, Rob’s versatility stretches far and wide, into multiple genres and disciplines, giving him with a unique ability to inspire others to take positive action and explore the boundless wonders of creativity.

Having grown up in an artistic household in Detroit, with legendary painter, Joseph Maniscalco, for a father, Robert developed a passion for art at an early age. Despite his competing interests, Robert kept the embers of his career as a visual artist simmering on the back-burner through most of his childhood and early adult life. His creative exploration took him on a marvelous journey, receiving his bachelor’s degree in music, and later going on to become a successful actor in New York City. He rededicated himself to creating portraits in New Orleans before returning to Detroit where he founded the Maniscalco Gallery, and became host of the successful PBS series, Artbeat.

Robert is now living in Charleston with his wife and children, where he continues to create, drawing inspiration from the people around him.

His work reflects victory over oppression, light over darkness and joy in the face of sadness. He forms a direct lineage to notable artists such as Velazquez, Rembrandt, Delacroix and John Singer Sargent. Since settling in Charleston, he has developed a number of series. His Faces of the Lowcountry, features descendants of the Gullah Giche heritage and the historical South Carolina Lowcountry. A related series, Iconic Charleston, explores famed Charleston scenes like the Folly Beach Pier, aged Oak trees, and monumental churches, among many other local favorites.

In addition to familiar faces and beautiful places, Robert’s inspiration also derives from real world experiences. After a trip to Haiti sponsored by Water Missions, Robert decided it was time to take his creative journey to the next level by using his art to change the world. He was struck with the very different ways our two cultures deal with desire and set out to explore this as a theme. The Quench Project was born out peeling back the myriad layers of human desire. Since his trip to Haiti in 2014, Robert has created 17 paintings, written a book (“Quench”) and produced a documentary “Out of Darkness,” sharing a portion of his profits with the Bread of Life Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. The Quench Project didn’t end in Haiti, as he is working to extend TQP to include the survivors of the Emanuel 9, who endeared themselves to Robert when he was the courtroom sketch artist during the Dylan Roof trial. One of his goals is to create an exhibition and a book to chronicle the trial and reflect on his experiences and insights throughout the process, and to share their remarkable stories.

Robert’s ability to capture real world struggles and triumphs through his art, serves as a new perspective of how we can better understand and appreciate the complexities of our world and the potential for connections to our fellow beings. “Inhale inspiration and exhale expression,” is a cycle Robert finds himself following to stay centered in a world where artists are satisfied “selling pretty pictures for a quick buck.” To Robert, art is much more than a commodity; he is “aspiring to respond to the genuine beauty of the people he paints, while gently offering a glimmer of insight into the human condition.” He advocates that artist step up and assert their vital role in creating a healthy, vibrant and compassionate society. We are so thankful to work alongside a fellow artist, a visionary who appreciates the power of kindness and supports the coming-together of a community. To learn more about Robert and his art, visit his website! The One Love Collective movement continues. Please support this amazing movement of local makers!

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