From a young age, Rob “Problak” Gibbs had a vision of beautifying the ghettos of Boston with graffiti art - an art form that is frequently overlooked, under-valued and misunderstood.
The concept that a picture is worth an infinite amount of words inspired Rob and provided him with the opportunity to take ownership of one of our culture’s modern hieroglyphics: graffiti. He developed a vision of beautifying Boston purely by instinct, experiencing his “calling” as a young man, a child of the hip-hop golden age. The need to place social consciousness in hip-hop culture is a driving force behind Problak’s creativity.
His work impels the viewer to allow imagination to become a playground for testing boundaries and breaking rules. Rob is a painter, muralist and graffiti artist who was one of six urban teens to co-found the non-profit youth development organization, Artists For Humanity (AFH) in 1991. Through this innovative non-profit organization, he has been blessed with a career in the arts that has spanned decades and has been able to work as a mentor to young people in the creative process. As AFH’s Paint Studio Director, Rob applies his experiences as an academic scholarship winner, an Americorps Fellow, and a Prudential Youth Leadership Fellow, to overseeing the art studios, leading the painting instruction, and serving as a key team member in AFH’s efforts to expand into neighboring communities, sharing the proven youth development model of arts and entrepreneurship training.
Gibbs is a recipient of a number of awards, including The Goodnight Initiative’s Civic Artist Award, and The Mass Industry Committee’s 2006 Graffiti Artist of the Year award. He has also served as a guest lecturer, teaching one-day sessions on graffiti art and culture to students in Northeastern University’s Foundations of Black Culture: Hip-Hop course.