Rob Gonsalves

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Robert "Rob" Gonsalves (June 25, 1959 – June 14, 2017) was a Canadian painter of magic realism (surrealism). He produced original works, limited edition prints and illustrations for his own books.

Early life[edit]

Gonsalves was born in Toronto, Ontario. As child, he developed an interest in art. By the age of thirteen, his awareness of architecture grew as he learned perspective techniques and he began to create his first paintings and renderings of imagined buildings. After an introduction to artists in his thirties Escher, Dalí, and Tanguy, Gonsalves began his first surrealistic paintings. The "Magic Realism" approach of Magritte along with the precise perspective illusions of Escher came to be influences in his future work.


In his post college years, Gonsalves worked full-time as an architect, also painting trompe-l'œil murals and theatre sets. After an enthusiastic response in 1990 at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Gonsalves devoted himself to painting full-time.

Although Gonsalves' work is often categorized as surrealistic, it differs because the images are deliberately planned and result from conscious thought. Ideas are largely generated by the external world and involve recognizable human activities, using carefully planned illusionist devices. Gonsalves injects a sense of magic into realistic scenes. As a result, the term "Magic Realism" describes his work accurately. His work is an attempt to represent human beings' desire to believe the impossible, to be open to possibility.[1]

Gonsalves exhibited at Art Expo New York and Los Angeles, Decor Atlanta and Las Vegas, Fine Art Forum, as well as one-man shows at Huckleberry Fine Art, Marcus Ashley Gallery in South Lake Tahoe, Hudson River Art Gallery, Saper Galleries (November 7 to December 31, 2004), Discovery Galleries, Ltd., and Kaleidoscope Gallery. Huckleberry Fine Art handles the publishing of Gonsalves' limited edition prints.

In June 2003, Simon & Schuster introduced North America and Canada to Imagine a Night, Gonsalves' first hardcover book featuring sixteen paintings. Due to the success of Imagine a Night, Simon & Schuster released a second book, Imagine A Day, in 2004 for which he won the 2005 Governor General's Award in the Children's Literature - Illustration category.

His book Imagine a Place was released in 2008. He released another book, Imagine a World, in September 2015.

Death and legacy[edit]

Gonsalves committed suicide on June 14, 2017.[2][3] His official Facebook page stated in part "Rob Gonsalves battled the dark but succumbed June 14th."[4] He was survived by his wife and extended family.[5] [6]

Fellow artist Lise Carruthers organized an effort to preserve his legacy in 2018.[7] In 2019 a 4' high black granite plinth was installed on his gravesite at the Necropolis Cemetery in Toronto Canada. Each side of the pedestal featured a different porcelain image of a Gonsalves paintings. Future plans are for a series of art exhibitions featuring Gonsalves original paintings.[8][9]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2018, Ariana Grande released a music video for her song 'God is a Woman'[10] in which one scene referenced Gonsalves' paintings "Water Dancing"[11] and "Carved in Stone."[12]


  1. ^ Mihai, Andrei (February 23, 2015). "The Surreal, Mind-Bending Paintings of Rob Gonsalves". ZME Science. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Magic Realism of Rob Gonsalves". Saper Galleries. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Rob Gonsalves, 57, created art that was loved worldwide". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Rob Gonsalves (Official Site)". Retrieved 2020-01-06.
  5. ^ "Rob Gonsalves, 57, created art that was loved worldwide". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  6. ^ 134851139863553; 134851139863553 (2017-11-27). "Remembering alumnus Rob Gonsalves". OCAD UNIVERSITY. Retrieved 2020-01-06.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Rob Gonsalves (Official Site)". Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  8. ^ "Rob Gonsalves (Official Site)". Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  9. ^ "Reference Go-Fund-Me link provided".
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  11. ^
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