Renowned for his ability to transform hair into otherworldly characters, in recent years the hairdresser Robert Lobetta has channelled his creative focus into crafting unique artworks. Gravitating towards the medium of collage, Lobetta explains that his love of this art form lies in its visceral nature. “When I first ventured into the world of hairdressing, I was told you only need two things – a good eye, and a great pair of hands,” he explains. “The power of collage relies on a strong idea and focus on the content, much like hairdressing. It’s the enjoyment of expressing something complex in a simplistic way.”
Much like the sculpted hairstyles for which he is known, Lobetta combines elements of fantasy with fashion and beauty to push the dramatic potential of the final image. His process involves using unusual, eye-catching visuals as a starting point, often combining these with imagery from his own archive to create unexpected assemblages, which he describes are being “neither real or unreal, it just depends on how you view them”.
Lobetta explains that the disciplines of hairstyling and collaging call for a similar approach, with one often informing the other. “I’m beginning to realise that when I limit the visual elements in a collage, it gives greater clarity to the end result,” he explains. “The more I add, the more I run the risk of losing the idea – just like with hairdressing. You just need to know when to stop, put the scissors and the hairspray down, and take a step back.”