Hairdresser. . . photographer. . . rebel. . . artist. Robert Lobetta is one of the elite talents who has shaped the world of international hairdressing in the 20th and 21st centuries.

From his earliest days, Lobetta saw himself as an artist. His goal was to train at one of London’s leading art schools, but his father saw a different future, and over Robert’s protests, apprenticed his young son at a friend’s salon.

It was the early 1970s, while the teenaged Lobetta rebelled at the restrictions of the training, he recognized his own spirit in the creative explosion of the London fashion scene. After establishing himself at the Ricci Burns salon, he began to experiment with the concept of hair as 3-dimensional art—as mobile sculpture.

Rockstars, artists and London’s punks filled his chair, looking for Lobetta’s transgressive cuts and styles, but he remained restless. He worked in top salons; he opened two salons of his own. Eventually, he embraced work as an editorial session stylist, which led him to a fascination with photographic expression he maintains to this day.

In 1985, Lobetta extended his exploration of the boundaries of hair and art in his collaboration with Geri and John Cusenza, as Creative Director for Sebastian Professional in Los Angeles. The iconic images he created as hairdresser, photographer, designer and conceptualizer challenged, sometimes enraged and often inspired viewers to leave the traditional definitions of hair fashion behind. For many hairdressers today, Lobetta’s Sebastian work is what motivated them to push beyond the boundaries of the craft to become genuine image-makers.