Puppets had figured into Bob's work at many points in his career. Whether it be a stage special effect, commercial spook house props, ventriloquist figures, theatrical productions, stop motion film animation, etc. This list seems endless.
He has always been aware of the power of puppets in education, entertainment, social and psychological mediums, culture and media.
He has always loved creating weird and wild characters and creatures.
Bob (Robert) Wolanin was born in 1961 and raised in N.W. Indiana / Chicago. The area infamously known as “the Region”.
Bob's earliest memories are obsessively drawing on reams of paper reducing full #2 pencils down to tiny stubs within minutes and constructing sculptures made out of old boxes and cardboard using a small kitchen pairing knife which would "freak out" his mother for fear of him cutting off a finger.
He began studying stage magic at age 7 and at 10 began performing professionally. It was then that his interest in Ventriloquism began as well. Performing with his blue monster "Irving" on several television shows.
Since age 15 he was designing unique illusions for stage magicians and illustrating a bi-
While in his early 20's he won a national Ventriloquism competition and was briefly featured on the U.S. television program Entertainment Tonight.
Bob attended Calumet College, Indiana and Columbia College, Chicago where he studied Cinematography, Animation and Optical Physics from working professionals in their respective fields. He went on to work on several major motion pictures and commercials over the years.
Robert created Mystique Productions. A Trade Show design and special effect presentation company whose clients included not only Fortune 500 companies but also performance artists, top name musicians and orchestras. From time to time he would also create puppet and puppet-
He has been a theatrical director, set and lighting designer, special effects designer/consultant, property master for many professional and community theater, opera and dance companies for over 35 years. He also applied his talents to shows in LasVegas, Reno and Branson.
As a resident artist at a large Chicago children's theater in the 1980's, Bob was taught the finer points of the art of clay based sculpture and detailed puppet creation. He would help create puppets, huge costume characters, unique set pieces and intricate props. He also created any of the technical special effects designed into those creations.
Bob has taught (and still teaches) classes in art, animation, digital animation, digital sculpting, audio engineering, performance for art’s organizations, adult education and colleges.
He now spends most of his days as a professional 2D & 3D artist and sculptor as well as a popular character, puppet, art doll designer and builder. He continues teaching his skills.
And he still has all of his fingers!
So... what about Bob?