Culture

Artist Rob Lowe Explores the Rhythm, Movement, and Composition of Sound

London artist Rob Lowe also goes by the name Supermundane. The moniker—which is defined as “of or relating to what is elevated above earthly things”—perfectly describes his work. With a love for lines and colors, Lowe says he likes “playing around with perspective quite a lot and confounding human expectation.”

Lowe’s penchant for lines and color is clear in the two pieces he did for Dolby’s new global headquarters in San Francisco. Although the two murals look different in style and color, Lowe says he drew the lines in one mural to talk to the lines in the other.

“I use line mainly for its own sake, so rather than use it to draw something representational, it is the placement and the interaction between the line and the other lines around it that is important to me,” Lowe says. “I like making the viewer interact with my artworks, so the pieces can often be appreciated purely as decorative, but the more time you spend looking at them, the more you will get out of them.”

Lowe is one of 20 artists from around the world that Dolby commissioned to create artwork that reflects the company’s spirit and mission. He was commissioned to create two works for the same floor. One boasts a lot of color and big, bold graphics, while the other is more muted, but both—inspired by Dolby’s heritage—explore the path that sound waves take.

“The two styles come from the same place inasmuch as they work with the interaction of lines to create movement and depth,” Lowe says. “The more organic style, which is hand drawn, is an approach I developed and refined over many years. They may not seem it at first, but the basic construction of both murals is the same.

“I listen to music all the time and have been a music fan all my life. In this instance, I tried to visualize music in an abstract way, creating a linear mural that has movement from left to right, in a similar way to sound waves.”

Lowe works in many media, including drawing, painting, digital, and screen-printing. His signature mesmeric drawings have been published and exhibited worldwide. His love of music connected him to Dolby early in his life.

Dolby is a word I have grown up with all my life from the days of the Dolby noise reduction button on my tape deck in the ’80s, “ he says. “For this piece, I wanted to create something that showed the dynamic nature of sound without being representative. Rhythm, movement, and composition all feature in music and in my art, so it felt like a good fit.

“Dolby has always been at the forefront of making more immersive sound experiences, says the artist. “With this mural, I used color and depth to create an experience that draws the viewer in and makes them part of the art.

“When I think of Dolby, I think of sitting in a cinema with my popcorn and having booming sounds fill the auditorium from all directions, bringing the film to life. I wanted someone standing in front of my piece to experience a similar impact to what Dolby sound has on the listener, to have your eyes and brain filled with exhilaration, joy, and color.”