'The Urban Prophecy'

Robert Obert is a Romanian illustrator, album cover designer, comics-, concert poster- and graffiti artist. He created the underground gag comic 'Herb and Whiskers' (2011), about a drugged-out horse and cat. Among his published comic books are the epic saga 'The Urban Prophecy' (2014) and his co-illustrated World War I graphic novel 'Bărăgan 1917' (2014).

Early life
He was born as Robert Matei in 1987 in Ploiesti, a city 50 kilometres north of Bucharest.  His parents separated when he was 1 years old, so he never got to know his father. Obert's mother was an assistant manager who worked in retail. Her own mother used to be a painter when she was young and thus Obert credits his artistic side to her. Obert started drawing comics at a young age, copying his favorite characters and inventing his own stories around them. Most comics were just whatever managed to be available in Romanian translation at the time. Once he gained access to Internet he discovered different kinds of comics. Among his graphic influences are René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's 'Astérix', Jean-Michel Charlier and Victor Hubinon's 'Barbe Rouge', Rune Andréasson's 'Bamse', Charles Addams' 'The Addams Family', Steve Ditko's 'Spider-Man', Todd McFarlane's 'Spawn' and artists like Sandu Florea, Jack Kirby and John Romita Jr.

Herb and Whiskers by Robert Obert

Herb and Whiskers
In 2009 Obert achieved his bachelor degree in graphics at the National Arts University in Bucharest, followed by a MA degree two years later. He published his first work in alternative youth papers and magazines, such as Cutezatorii. Around this time he created the gag comic 'Herb and Whiskers'. Herb is a goofy looking horse, while Whiskers is a grumpy cat. They share an apartment together where they live like stoners. Obert described them as "the result of many years of inspiration and involuntary brainwash from all the comedy characters I've seen in animated series." Although the comic is mainly a webcomic, appearing online since 2011-2012, some episodes of 'Herb and Whiskers' have appeared in print in Revista Comics, publishing date 2017. Obert deliberately published his comics in English to reach a wider demographic. Therefore Herb's name is a pun on herbal marijuana. 


'The Urban Prophecy'

The Urban Prophecy
In 2014 he published his first comic book, 'The Urban Prophecy' (2014). It is the first part of an ongoing saga, which he combines with other art forms, such as comic murals, street art interventions, stickers, paintings and other mixed media. The title is a reference to the fact that Obert sees himself as an "urban prophet". The 'Urban Prophecy' saga is an interpretation of the society we live, generating introspection and asking questions about the perception and creation of reality. Obert wraps this all up in dark, post-apocalyptic visuals. He personally regards it as his most important project so far, standing out as a reference and source for future works.  


'Bărăgan 1917'

Bărăgan 1917
His next comic book 'Bărăgan 1917' (2014) was done in collaboration with novelist Felix Tzele - who wrote the script - and comics artist Diana Necşulescu. The graphic novel takes place during World War I in Bărăgan and follows real-life photographer Costica Ascinte, German etnologist Leo Frobenius and French soldier Mohamed Gherainia. Their lives intertwine when they meet one another in a POW camp. The foreword is written by historian Adrian Cioroianu.


'Next Frame'

Other projects
Next year Obert collaborated with the Romanian electronic band The Dream Diggers. Their album 'Fear Is A Lie' (2015) was released with a comic book  inspired by the music. Obert made a drawing about every song which forms an individual chapter in the comic book. In 2016 Obert was one of several comics artists to try and create a collective comic book in 24 hours time. Inspired by the 24 Hour Comics project by Scott McCloud every artist had to draw one panel of a comic book, while the next panel was drawn by his colleague. Still the project took about a year to complete, mostly because the artists worked online on it. With more time on hand it became easier to spend more time to the drawings and eventually reach 64 pages in length. Among the artists who joined him were Thomas Alexander, Ciubotaru Alexandru, Vlad Forsea, Andrei Moldovan, Xenia Pamfil, Ionut Popescu, Valentin Sava, Alexandru Talambă and Octav Ungureanu. This absurd, experimental, but stylistically versatile album was published as 'Următorul Cadru' ("Next Frame", 2016).


'Fear is a lie'

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