What do 45,000 runners, Howard Stern, and Jimmy Fallon all have in common? They were all blown away by the amazing talent of Robert Channing, spell binding mentalist and artist from New Hartford, NY. Most recently seen on this season’s America’s Got Talent, Robert Channing wowed the judges and audience collecting four straight “Yeses” to move on into the next round on the NBC summer hit show.
As Utica prepared for the 2014 Boilermaker Road Race, a worldwide event with runners from all continents, it only seemed fitting to have a worldwide star like Channing take the stage at the beautiful and grand Stanley Theater in Utica the night before to send off positive vibes for all those racing the following day.
As Channing began his performance, he immediately won the audience over with his charismatic presence and quick wit. His unique talents, albeit different, demonstrated both Robert’s creative mind and talents splendidly. After being blindfolded by two complete strangers, Robert showed off his inept intuitive ability to identify articles, individuals, and facts, stupefying the audience more and more as the show progressed. This mental capacity to call out things that nobody could possibly know is an amazing gift.
As Channing wrapped up his show, the last two minutes were the most impressive. To paint a painting is a talent not many of us can achieve, and if a time limit was added to that task, the result would most likely resemble a round of drawing during a game of Pictionary for most of us. This was not the case for Channing as he painted and danced in a performance, captivating the audience and leaving them on the edge of their seat to see who the subject of this artwork would become. Literally within two minutes, Robert completed his painting, and in cloud of glittery dust, a still life of the iconic Marilyn Monroe came to life on the stage.
Channing’s works of art have become highly collectable pieces, being sought after with prices upwards of $100,000. As the artist performed for Heidi Klum, Mel B., Howie Mandel, and Howard Stern on AGT, the artwork came to life, and Howard, who is never at a loss for words, was stunned by this amazing creation,while the other judges were left in jealous awe of what they had just witnessed.
I had the opportunity to interview Robert and found him to be the most interesting individual.
Kathy Stockbridge (KS) – How long have you been sharing your mental abilities with audiences? When did you discover this gift?
Robert Channing (RC) – Since I was five years old, I have been messing with not only my mind skills, but other people’s thoughts. It’s 35% Extra Sensory Perception, 35% Showmanship, and the rest is dumb luck.
KS: What is your most memorable mental performance?
RC: Performing in Monaco for Billionaire Alex and Carrie Vik and their lovely family for a private event at his home on the ocean. My family and I were flown first class and performed two private shows for the Vik’s and their clients. Amazing Place!
KS: Have you found this gift to be one that you can use in everyday life to help others?
RC: The gift that was given to me and helps me put smiles on people’s faces and provides me the ability to help people in need. So far, over the last five years, I have helped raise over $150 million for a charity called “Hunger to Hope” with YUM Brands! as a sponsor alongside President Bill Clinton, Maria Carey, and Christina Aguilera. Yum Brands! It is the largest food organization in the world.
KS: What are some drawbacks being able to read others thoughts?
RC: My reading of minds is just that..a show. A show of what you can do if you just tap into your own mind’s ability. Scientists believe we only use a fraction of our minds in a lifetime.
KS: How did you begin painting?
RC: In 1988-1989 I performed with a gentleman named Denny Dent who did a speed painting show called “Two Fisted Art Attack”, and his performance and energy along with his ability to inspire people motivated me to study him and this performance art form. I’ve had this doormat for a few years and decided after some trials and tribulations in my life to express myself with painting, creating extraordinary pieces of art for clients, celebrities, family, and friends.
KS: How did this speed painting using glitter come to be? And how did you know it should be part of your performance?
RC: It was something that I created with my daughter as an art project, and one that I was inspired to perform on stage by the reactions of my test audiences who first fell in love with my glitter paintings.
KS: As a contestant on AGT, how did it feel to completely surprise the unsurprisable Howard Stern?
RC: Being on America’s Got Talent, it was an exhilarating experience that will never be forgotten. To have Howard, Heidi Klum, Mel B., Howie Mandel, and Nick Cannon give me over a 2 1/2 minute standing ovation along with the packed audience of over 5,000 people at Madison Square Gardens in NYC, and to have Howard Stern join me on stage to sign and ask to own my painting, was like a beautiful dream that I could only imagine. That it came true is amazing to me!
For those of you who have yet to see Robert live, your chance is right around the corner. He will be returning to The Stanley Center for the Arts once again, November 15, 2014. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, July 18 at noon. Patrons can get them online at www.mvcc.edu/tickets and www.thestanley.org, by phone at (315) 724.4000, or by visiting the Stanley Box Office. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the BELIEVE 271 FUND, which provides awareness, educational programming, and financial assistance to volunteer firefighters, EMTs, and Ladies Auxiliary members in Oneida and Herkimer Counties who suffer from a life threatening illnesses. Don’t miss your chance to see the phenomenal Robert Channing and his amazing works of art come to life this fall at The Stanley Center for the Arts.
When asked to provide a quote for the readers, Robert left me with this thought that absolutely encompasses his performance and the man behind the spotlight:
“Do not go where the path may lead…instead go where there is no path….and leave a trail” Unknown author