Nantucket Portraits

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Bob Walder

Rob Smith

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in New York City, raised in Michigan... Some of my friends had spent some time out here working, and I came to check it out. It felt like I was always supposed to be here, so I came out in 1994. I was set on surfing... I was obsessed with the sun, the beach... I'd be out there until the skin was peeling off my face. I was crazy about it.

You're a musician... tell us about your life as a guitarist.

I have a picture from when I was two years old, sitting on a speaker at my parents house, playing a little plastic string guitar. It was just something I was drawn to. When I was growing up, I would be at a friends house, and everyone else would be talking or watching TV or something, and I would just get hyper focused for hours playing the guitar. It's just been in my life from very early on. I used to play a lot of heavy metal. When I started playing classical guitar, I became very snobby, but recently I began incorporating more from my musical past. Some of it is a little reminiscent of Angus Young's style. I think some of that metal stuff actually transfers really well to the nylon-string guitar. I'm gonna start playing out more... I'm hoping to play at venues with good acoustics. My style sort of needs a space to carry some of those notes... some of these chords really deserve to be sustained.

What do you do to supplement the (sometimes lacking) income of a musician?

I run a window-cleaning business... I was bouncing around from job to job for a long time, kinda wondering what it was I wanted to do. I worked for a window-cleaning company, and decided to start my own business. For me it's important to be active. It also requires balance, especially up on ladders, and it can be a very meditative. Believe it or not it reminds me a lot of surfing...  And at this point, I have good relationships with a lot of clients, and it's really rewarding.

What's your favorite part about living on Nantucket?

When I moved here, one of the first things that struck me was how easy it is to bike everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It's so liberating. You just can't get that in some other communities.

(Unfortunately we had to cut our interview short)

Humans of Nantucket, modeled after the famous Humans of New York, intends to portray various members of the island community who share with us their lives, dreams and hopes.

Robert Smith is a local landscape and portrait photographer. He will soon begin building a website to feature his work, and will also shortly provide links to his Flickr and Instagram accounts. He can be reached at 508-221-6926