Robert Risko (born November 11, 1956 in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania) is an American caricature artist known for his retro airbrush style. He began his career by following in the footsteps of his mentor Andy Warhol and moved to New York City from Pittsburgh. He started drawing iconic celebrity portraits in his inimitable graphic style for Warhol's trendy downtown Interview Magazine. His hard edged airbrush style was an instant hit. Risko was influenced by the shiny aesthetic of the 1970s and the Deco revival taking place in New York City at the time. Risko recalls, "New York was a petrie dish of creativity back then with people like Mapplethorpe and Madonna pushing the envelope. It was an amazing time to be starting out then."
Robert Risko a.k.a. Risko, is today's most celebrated caricaturist. His style embodies the spirit of the 1930s Vanity Fair caricaturists Miguel Covarrubias and Paolo Garretto the latter of which he corresponded with until his death in 1989.
At 25 he was chosen by renowned art director Bea Feitler along with Rolling Stone photographer Annie Leibovitz and artist Keith Haring to define the look of the new Vanity Fair when the magazine was relaunched in 1983. He has been a contributor ever since and has been instrumental in not only shaping VF's unique look by contemporizing the spirit of the Bauhaus with his style but revealing personality traits of his subjects by reducing them to their essence with a few stylized colored shapes.
Risko's work is published regularly in most major magazines including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and Interview and seen everywhere including television on VH1's Pop 200 Icons Countdown. He illustrated the packaging for the Capitol Sings composer series, and HBO's Comedy Club video series. A collection of his work can be seen in his book simply entitled The Risko Book published by the Monacelli Press.
Today Risko divides his time between New York City and Easthampton, NY. He is currently working on a children's book. He has also been published in books such as Fame (1979), Fame II (1981), and The Risko Book, a collection of 180 of his pieces. His latest book is Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life (Rodale) 2009.