Tag Archives: art guitars

The Birth of MT Robison Art Guitars

The birth of MT Robison Art Guitars was unintentional and organic, although perhaps a bit random and definitely risky. When MT Robison was asked by his former lead-guitar player and MD for MT Robison & The Messengers, Mark Shrader, to refinish his factory red Les Paul and add a big “22,” neither MT nor Mark knew what had just happened. But it was big.

The one that started it all...
The one that started it all…

And who knows what possessed Shrader, typically logical and cautious, to ask MT to do that in the first place? Insanity or inspiration? It wasn’t a case of mistaken career identity. Shrader knew MT had never refinished a guitar in his life, and yet, he handed over a brand new Gibson Les Paul to an eager but inexperienced MT, and went home and slept like a baby. It may forever remain one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the 21st century, baffling psychiatrists and late night talk show hosts the world over.

Now, the story of a man pursuing his dreams and his original music for over 40 years without reasonable financial validation is for another post, but let’s just say it’s been a very long journey… one that can leave a man finding himself tired, uninspired, and a bit lost in the woods.

Next stop, who knows...
Next stop, who knows…

Few people knew what other artistic talents MT possessed besides singing, song writing, and playing a mean slide-guitar. MT himself had almost forgot how much he loved creating visual arts.


His father, E.W. Robison was a Ret. Army Major, and a civil engineer by trade, but he was also a life-long artist, doing everything from hand-drawn portraits of movie-stars for old movie theater marquees, to block printing, painting, quilt making, and so on. Visual art is in MT’s blood as much as his Kentucky roots and music from his mother’s side of the family.

When MT’s hands got to working on the wood of that first guitar, he felt a stir of familiarity… and watched with wonder, as his hands sanded away the factory paint and the beautiful wood grain was revealed. (Look, he’s actually smiling.)

MT Robison Sanding "22" Guitar
MT Robison Sanding “22” Guitar


"22" in progress
“22” in progress
The one that started it all...
“22”  Finished

Shrader was so happy with the results of “22,” that he then asked MT to refinish his Takamine with any artwork MT wanted. MT created a rich, colorful,  water-color style, layered effect with quality wood stains and a Tru-oil finish that really brought out the gorgeous wood grain.


Tortoise Shell close up
Tortoise Shell close up

And somewhere in the rich soil of the artistic process, seeds were planted that grew like wildfire beneath a cold and crusty earth, and a cold and crusty heart. Tender shoots of child-like excitement sprang up inside MT, sparking his imagination, awakening something he hadn’t felt for a long time.

And he couldn’t wait to get his hands on another guitar…

Welcome to the Birth of MT Robison Art Guitars.