Robert LaDuke (Born 1961) has been drawing since his childhood. He can remember vividly drawing old cars, particularly those that were appearing in the Life magazine advertisements. He used to fill his free time doing artwork using any material he could lay his hands on. Somehow, he knew that his career was in the arts. LaDuke loved the bright colors and likened them to those of candies that he loved to chew. They always appeared as “joyful” colors to him and that is why, in his own paintings, he has chosen to use bright, fun colors. His narrative paintings are a combination of the occurrences of everyday life, dreams and memories. Some of his most dramatic memories are of traveling in the family Cadillac cross country with an Airstream trailing behind.
He was also fascinated with 1940's era transportation and combined this with his memories, and because he inherited an antique of steel toys, it is not a surprise that the same steel toys have often appeared as subject matter in many of his paintings. He bases his acrylic paintings on the American transportation of the 1930s and 40s. The paintings feature toys which were popular during that era. His art is pretty much transportation oriented, ships, trains, trailers, cars, everything that floats or rolls and they always have that nostalgic 1940s look to them. One of his major influences is Rockwell Norman who was known for his depictions of American life in idyllic style, and although the artist is also influenced by the events before and after World War II, he tends to explore a deeper, darker side.