Born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1922, Robert Brooks embarked on his art career by winning modeling clay as a reward for good attendance at primary school. He became known for embellishing the margins of his school books with sketches of his friends and maybe teachers. He operated his own sign making business as a teenager, which supplied little money but lots of experience. Brooks also entered every poster and drawing competition in sight. Saturday morning classes at the Swain School of Design provided him with sound instructions in the principles of art, and as a high school senior in 1941, Brooks was awarded a scholarship to Boston's Vesper George School of art in a annual state-wide competition. During this year in Boston, he specialized in design, color and the theater arts and discovered "watercolor" as his favorite medium. At the end of his year Brooks was awarded a scholarship to continue by the Vesper George School but returned to New Bedford before the second year was out in order to work in the design department of a large textile printing concern.
He was called to serve his country and after basic training, casual detachments and port of embarkation, he made his own private beachhead on New Caledonia in 1943, where he served as staff artist for The South Pacific Daily News. Brooks painted sketches and watercolors of the local scene during his daytime off-duty hours and won fast acclaim for his crisp, clean paintings of the Noumea and its environs. In 1944, he won the grand prize for one of his watercolors in the Servicemen's Art Exhibition in Noumea and in 1945 he took first prize in both watercolor and oil at the Servicemen's Art Exhibition.
After establishing a long running studio in the Cape Cod community of Hyannis, Robert Brooks dedicated the majority of his paintings and watercolors to the many points of interest within the area.
He was a well-known Muralist in the Cape Cod - Provincetown area, and executed murals for the American Legion of Yarmouth and the Cap Cod Synagogue in Hyannis (1978). He had a one-man show at the Cape Cod Art Association at Barnstable in 1976 and also instructed at the Cape Cod Art Association in 1974 & 1977, during which years he won First Prize in the Juried Cape Cod Art Assoc. watercolor show.
Robert Brooks was a full member of the Copley Society and the Cape Cod Art Association.
He was listed in Bowker's "Who's Who in American Art" in 1980.
WWII Army art show brochure
AskART discussion board submission by Rene Ruffner