Rob Gonsalves: Artist. Musician. Husband. Brother. Born July 10, 1959, in Toronto; expired June 14, 2017, near Brockville, Ont.; from suicide; aged 57.

Rob left this Earth on his own terms when he took his own life, calmly and deliberately on a gorgeous day in June. An accomplished Canadian artist and musician, Rob was 57 and at his creative peak as he continued to make art that was adored worldwide. Even though Rob died too early, he made his mark on the world.

Rob was born in Toronto to Allan and Ruth Gonsalves, the second of two kids in the family. Rob’s passion for art was evident in youth. Ruth used to say, “If you’re wondering where Rob was, you could usually find him in his room or in some corner of the home, quietly drawing and shooting images.” He had a vibrant creativity and watched the world from another perspective.

Rob researched and practised his art first at OCAD University and later at Ryerson University in its Architecture program. He worked in an architecture firm for a few years, but after some initial success in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 1990, left to concentrate solely on creating his painting. Rob’s training as an architect and love of beautiful buildings is evident in his work, which can be referred to as magical realism.

Rob’s career as an artist took off when a gallery near Washington, D.C., started selling his paintings. His work appeared on the cover of this publication Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali and the Artists of Optical Illusion. His pictures were featured in a series of children’s novels: Imagine a Night, Envision a Day, Imagine a Place, Imagine a World. In its review of Imagine a Night, Quillamp;Quire known as Rob’s job “hauntingly magical,” adding, “The paintings can be revisited again and again, and each time, readers will see something fresh.” In 2005, Rob’s examples in Picture a Day won the Governor-General’s award for children’s literature.

Music also played a huge role in his life. He played in a band in his younger years, and later experimented with tools in the lute family, until he discovered that the saz, a stringed musical instrument of Middle Eastern origin. Rob played and written on it and drove for four hours to take classes in Toronto.

Rob leaves his loved ones and friends looking for answers and trying hard to comprehend why he killed himself. There’s absolutely no real answer that we’ll ever know, but as a friend commented, “This was a tragedy but remember that Rob was able to make a life worth remembering for centuries.”

The final painting Rob finished shows a young guy determinedly climbing up a tree branch which leans over a pond, the water looking like an astronaut’s view of Earth. The tree climber doesn’t seem to the Earth but directly into the stars and vastness that’s space.

Rob died too soon. But his loved ones, friends and the people he touched through his artwork will keep him in their hearts and maintain his mild living.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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