Robert Jew: Living the dream

By Monique Berduo / Staff Writer

By Monique Berduo / Staff Writer

After accomplishing all your childhood dreams and goals what could possibly be the next best thing to do? Some might say retire and others might suggest settling down to start a family or simply make new dreams to aim towards.

Riverside City College’s art professor Robert Jew, has revealed a more satisfying alternative that can be found right here on our college campus.

Aside from his underlying passion and interest in all things music, Jew has always loved art and everything that has to do with the field since he was a child.

As a child Jew was unsure about what it meant to make a career out of art; although, he knew that a career in art was what he wanted to chase after in his adult life.

In high school an art teacher, Charlotte Zen, helped direct Jew to an art college. From there everything just fell into place for Jew.  

“In class I always relate it [art] to just living and how creating art is such a metaphor for all kinds of aspects of just living life,” said Robert Jew.

“How you solve problems, how you observe different things, and how it relates to life. [Art is] really interesting.”

“It doesn’t seem like you’re doing work,” Jew said. “It always seems like it’s work when you’re doing something that you’re not too happy about doing.”

Before Robert Jew was an art professor, he worked as a freelance illustrator for almost 20 years. Jew had the privilege of working with many different people who gave him the chance to display his talent.

About 13 years after Jew had graduated high school he was asked to work on a project with none other than Charlie White, a popular 1970s artist.

White was known as the “rockstar” illustrator and his work was everywhere. White invited Jew to help him with a new project to design a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada known as Treasure Island.  

Another one of Robert’s biggest inspirations was the ever famous Disney Studios. Jew received a call from Disney Studios requesting that he attend a meeting with their show producers. Before long, Jew was working on illustrations of a jungle scene for Disney Quest, an attraction at Disney World in Florida.

Jew had the opportunity to join American hard rock band, Van Halen, on tour designing art for merchandise.

Jew was also brought back to his alma mater, the Art Center in Pasadena, as a professor. Now Jew works as an art professor at RCC where he continues to live out his dreams by reminding his students to hold on to theirs and do everything it takes to succeed in fulfilling them.  

“I come here and hang out with (the students) and just help them attain whatever dreams they might want to have,” Jew said.

“I can practice my skills with them, and paint along with them or whatever and at the end of the month they put money in my account! It’s like what’s there to complain about?”

Co-worker and close friend,Dayna Peterson, says that Jew is ideal for what he does being that he teaches with the same drive and motivation that he used to fulfill his dreams.

With that mentality Jew is able to help his students achieve their dreams.

“He’s a hard worker, he expects the hard work,” said Peterson. “He doesn’t necessarily expect it to come easy, and I think that; that could be inspiring to his students.”

“And I tell [my students] to literally hold on to your dreams and don’t think nothing can happen like that, because I can tell you for a fact stuff I dreamt about in high school [came true],” said Jew.”That’s why I get so excited about this field.”

Jew is now able to look back on his life and take pride in his many accomplishments. From participating in projects with famed artists to inspiring and motivating his students, Jew’s life is a reflection of his talents and desire to succeed.