ART & DESIGN

In the Studio with Donald Robertson


Illustrator and beauty industry insider Donald Robertson has gained a following in the past few years thanks to his Instagram profile (@donalddrawbertson) where he shares his colorful, energetic drawings of long-legged women and his tongue-in-cheek humor. While he floods the feeds of his admirers, including Jenna Lyons, Brian Atwood, and W’s Beauty Director Jane Larkworthy, the charismatic illustrator has only recently begun to show his work in formal gallery settings. Partnering with Eric Firestone (@ericfirestone), Robertson has set up shop on Great Jones Street in New York where visitors can stop by to see him in action—and purchase his work.

@donalddrawbertson x #EricFirestoneGreatJones runs from September 19th through November 19th, 9 Great Jones Street, New York.

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Photographer: Teddy Wolff

The artist in his pop-up studio.

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Photographer: Teddy Wolff

“This is my revenge on photography which has sucked up all the attention since the 1930s, when illustrators had their own magazines.”

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“This is a classic. Nickelodeon asked me to do a SpongeBob painting for the Moschino show, so today I posted the SpongeBob stuff. And then Jeremy Scott said ‘Why aren’t you doing my Barbie stuff? Can you do Barbie?’ This is all on Instagram of course. So, I painted Barbie for him because he’s a nice guy—and then Moschino regrams it and my phone starts breaking again.”

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“Every single person told me not to share my work on Instagram that it would devalue the work. And they were wrrrong.”

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“In life drawing class, they would put a normal fat model up there, and the teacher would come over and my drawing would be tall and skinny, and they would say ‘You fail.’ And I would be like: ‘You know what I like my drawing better.’”

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Gwen Christie is the tallest of them all. She’s the most spectacular thing in the whole world. I have literally been animating her for Net-A-Porter, because I am obsessed with her.”

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“This is what happens, so I’ll start working on something with somebody in mind. Like I really wanted to work with Katie Grand so I started painting teeth with faces. And then next thing you know she called me. It’s literally like if I paint them, I end up meeting them. It’s like my own Field of Dreams. Next I want to work with Lego.”

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“I get away with nipple murder on my feed. And everyone keeps saying ‘those are nipples’ and I’m like ‘Yes they are.’ So, now I am just pushing it. It’s like nipple carte blanche.”

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“I just discovered spray paint, and I’m obsessed. These are half spray paint and half spray paint press. Where you spray something and press it down on the paper, so you can get twofers. It’s actually genius.”

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“Whether I am doing something for Net-A-Porter or a wedding portrait, I still like for it to be artful.”

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Photographer: Teddy Wolff

“Jenna Lyons was like ‘Donald, you are doing all this girl stuff for J. Crew. I need boy stuff.’ So I was like what would boys like and I came up with T-Rexs, skateboards and murder.”

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Photographer: Teddy Wolff

“If you can’t draw feet just don’t draw them. If you can’t draw hands just eliminate them, don’t ruin your paintings with ugly hands.”