Robert Rogalski was born and raised in a one-room log cabin deep in the dark woods of wild Kentucky, where he learned to read by firelight and wrote on a wooden tablet with a piece of coal. No, wait, wait… that was Abraham Lincoln.

Actually, Robert Rogalski was born and raised in the lush countryside of western New York near the city of Rochester, were his vivid imagination turned the rural land around his family home into an enchanted world.
Despite being diagnosed as dyslexic at an early age, he was captivated by stories of Peter pan, Hobbits, and the land of OZ, he worked hard to overcome his struggles with reading, and soon began to read at his pleasure. Fiercely imaginative, he was encouraged by his family to develop his artistic talents. After a boyhood spent conquering his academic struggles with his creative drive, in 1993 he was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh PA, were he studied Special Effects for film and graduated with a degree in Industrial Design.

At the age of seven, Robert’s school librarian asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. He answered that he wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. Robert went on to teach art to inner city school children, as well as designing puppets and exhibits for Renaissance festivals, store fronts, theatrical events, and dance companies.

In 2006, his child hood dream to illustrate a children’s book came true, with the publication of Mrs. Murphy’s Marvelous Mansion by Emma Perry Roberts, published by Illumination Arts.

Watch Robert Rogalski on WXXI’s Arts in Focus