About Robert Kantor

Rudy Pensa & Robert Kantor
Rudy & Robert: rock'n'roll.

“My first involvement with guitars started at age eleven when I needed to complete a school project. My sister was kind enough to teach me three chords on her acoustic…forty some years later… I am still playing. By age fourteen I was playing big halls around Westchester County such as ‘the World’ in Mount Vernon with my band ‘Fifth Street Station’ along with others such as Steven Tyler’s ‘Chain Reaction’. My Mom had a very hip boutique back then in White Plains and helped manage my band. Before I left high school I started a power trio with Joey Kramer and Ray Tabano, future members of the band Aerosmith but was soon forced to go off to college. I did not continue to pursue playing and writing music for several years. I entered the apparel importing business in the late 70’s and have stayed involved with fashion and design. After recently selling my business, I am now free to pursue my passion for guitars.”

“I did briefly return to music and in 1978 and was offered a singing songwriting contract with Warner Brothers. The music business was going through a lot of changes at the time so once again I left music for fashion. I then met Rudy Pensa who at the time was an upstart on New York’s famed 48th Street. Rudy fueled my passion for collecting and we always joke that I helped put his girls through college. If there was a new luthier or amazing vintage piece, somehow Rudy was always connected to it. Over the years I have bought and sold many guitars and have had the luxury of working with great companies such as Gibson Custom Shop and Fender Custom Shop to create some amazing one of a kind instruments.”

Kareem (Lady Gaga's guitarist) playing his Kantor Silverburst Les Paul

“In early 2004 I contacted the artist John ‘Crash’ Matos. I had spotted guitars that were being played by Eric Clapton with amazing graffiti style artwork and simply had to have one. This has since lead to a long and fruitful relationship with Crash culminating in a show featuring guitars and our collaborations last year at Toy Tokyo’s Gallery in New York City. Having many years experience in fashion I was able to then transpose some of Crash’s artwork into full blown crystal guitars using over 40,000 individual SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS on each instrument. Each ‘Crash’ Guitar is a one of a kind, signed piece and comes with a print of the original artwork that inspired each guitar signed by the artist.”

“When I approached my friend Rudy Pensa, he expressed great interest in this project and he encouraged me to explore, have fun and go crazy! The results of combining my experience in both fashion and guitars now reside in his beautiful new Soho storefront.”

Each instrument uses only SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. and all instruments are 100 percent playable. At Rudy’s you can see finished guitars such as the Jubilee inspired by Michael Jackson and the Springtime Strat which features over one hundred multicolored butterflies.

We currently are busy with many commissions, working on with artists ranging from Rock to Country!

Robert on John Crash Matos

“I met John Crash Matos, the world famous graffiti artist when I contacted him about the guitars he had painted especially for Eric Clapton. It was not easy to negotiate having a guitar made for my collection as he said Eric had to grant his permission. Once we were able to gain his approval, Crash made me the first of many amazing art guitars.”

“Eric then sold one of his Crash guitars at his Christie’s Auction for The Crossroads Foundation in 2004 for $321,000.00! Since then Crash and I have become good friends and we have since collaborated together on a lot of guitar projects. Aside from the limited run of fifty “Crashocaster” guitars Crash had already done for Fender, together we have worked on many more interesting projects. Among those works was a guitar featuring Crash’s artwork tooled completely by hand in leather by Bill Silverman of El Dorado Guitar Accessories in Pasadena. Crash is currently working on a Flying V which has been ported to allow him to paint on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.”

“With this project, my love of fashion, art and guitars has truly come together in the making of these unique instruments.”

Robert Kantor, May 2010

Basement Tour

Check out character Lil’ Robbie! based on Robert Kantor, designed by CRASH.

With music by Eric Clapton and animated by Jahan Loh.
All artwork, copyright, CRASH, 2009
All music copyright, Eric Clapton, 2009, Warner Bros.

Lil Robbie by CRASH

Skyline Sessions

“The Skyline Sessions were recorded at Skyline Studios 36 West 37th Street in New York City in April of 1981. I had made the decision to try and return to making music for a living. I got together with some of the finest studio musicians to make these recordings.”