“I never understood the juxtaposition that if you make a living with your art, then you’re giving up creative liberty,” Bobby Rogers shares. “It’s very possible to create beautiful work that speaks to the desires of our world and to sustain yourself while doing so.”
The prolific artist, photographer and founder/creative director of multidisciplinary creative studio the Bureau is just 31 years old. But the drive to create as a means to overcome hardship — which propelled him through South High School, where he’d sell drawings for a few bucks a pop, and into the Minneapolis College of Art and Design — has established him as a multi-hyphenate powerhouse who continues to fortify a growing reputation.
After MCAD, where he studied illustration and graphic design, he hopscotched between work as a design manager for architect Charles Stinson and a design supervisor at North Minneapolis’s Juxtaposition Arts, a youth-oriented nonprofit visual arts center. “This was a really particular moment for me, seeing the extremes,” he notes. Photography soon followed as he taught himself the craft by capturing protest movements with his camera. The ability to relate history in motion through the eyes of those most affected hooked him. Now, that work has evolved at the Bureau, which often stages art-directed, researched-backed works that get captured for posterity.
“The evolution is the fun part,” explains Rogers. “A lot of artists might be hesitant to make shifts, but for me, that’s the creative chess game. At the Bureau, building multidisciplinary worlds and a new creative aesthetic has always been the goal for us. I had to create this world that didn’t yet exist, merging my artistic intrigue with social-political interests while building a platform for both myself and my community.”