Payton’s work has a dynamic, energetic quality which evokes the liveliness of music. This is no surprise, as Payton is a musician as well as a visual artist. His visual medium is art quilts, in which he combines highly patterned fabrics, cut into random shapes that seem barely contained by the fabric border. One would not be at all surprised if the pieces of fabric broke through the frame and began dancing down the wall. 
— Andrea Gates, Exhibits Coordinator

Bob Payton Artist Statement

I’m a self-taught artist and folk musician who creates abstract art quilts. My hope is that these vibrant artworks will enliven and bring joy to offices, studios, public spaces and even children's rooms!

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Making the Quilts

 Open Streets Lyndale - making a community quilt.

Open Streets Lyndale - making a community quilt.

Making the quilts is like playing music. It’s a type of improvisational collage using fabric colors, shapes, lines and patterns. I find this freestyle way of doing art extremely engaging, imaginative and just plain fun! 

My design process is experimental and intuitive. Beginning with a blank square of cotton cloth pinned to an easel, I cut and affix fabric pieces, building up layers while keeping an eye on color, balance and motion.

 Turning over a border strip on the back of a quilt.

Turning over a border strip on the back of a quilt.

At a certain point I sew on a frame-like border, which becomes an integral part of the piece, and finally complete the work with layers of batting and backing, all quilted together to create depth and texture. The works are untitled, but cataloged using Greek letters. Lightweight and easy to display, the quilts can add brightness and pizzazz to a variety of spaces.

Arts in Healthcare

 Playing the Celtic Harp in a patient room at a St. Paul hospital.

Playing the Celtic Harp in a patient room at a St. Paul hospital.

Creating art is also a visceral response to my challenging work as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, helping hospital patients with complex and serious medical conditions.