Last night, just about anyone who’s anyone in fashion gathered at Curve gallery in New York to celebrate Donald Robertson’ fashion illustrations. You probably know him better by his Instagram handle, @DonaldDrawbertson, where he features sketches of people like Carine Roitfeld and Zac Posen (among others), and features his adorable twins.
Now, you can buy his gaffer tape on craft paper work, literally, by the yard, at Curve, for a limited time. Here, we talked to Robertson about his art, what it’s like being a suburban dad meets fashion industry insider.
Tell us a little about the illustrations that are for sale at Curve.
My buddy designer Alessandra Branca [famed interior designer] sent me an art "care package" — a giant roll of craft paper, a box of gaffertape and a box of sharpies! That was it! A hundred illustrations later, I had one painting that was blocks long!
You've drawn everyone from Carine Roitfeld and her grand daughter, Romy, to Lisa Marie Fernandez's teddy bear, Albert. How do you choose your subjects?
I really like brown hair girls. I'm married to the best looking one and they tend to catch my eye. Jackie O, Kelly Klein, The Man Repeller, Lisa Marie Fernandez, and Carine Roitfeld—actually all the Roitfeld women—all share this trait. I have this one tube of brown paint that mixed with a bit of black and it nails them all!
What is it like to live in the suburbs, and then to come into the city and hang out with the likes of Carine Roitfeld, and other fashion industry hot shots?
Everyone should start and end their day in Grand Central Terminal, especially now that it has that awesome Apple store. Then you can totally have the best of both worlds at your disposal. Grass and a big house: I have five kids so it's essential. Then 30 minutes later, [I’m in the city] hanging with the CR FashionBook people in their cool new offices on Hudson! Ideal set up!
Many people right now are talking about the work that you're selling by the yard, but you do other, 3-dimensional work (that we can see on your Instagram). Tell us about some of the other things you create.
I'm very excited about a solo show I'm having at Eric Firestone Gallery on June 21st in East Hampton. It will be the first time all my work will be shown together in one space. I'm recreating my entire studio in Eric's gallery. The show is called #highfunctioningadd. Watch for my gaffer tape queen mattress paintings, spraypaint lips, Vuitton garbage pile, and Captain Crunch classic oil portraits. It's all being jammed into this awesome clean space with our paint splattered family ping pong table. My friend, designer Lisa Perry, introduced me to Eric and gets full credit for this hook up.
I love seeing your twins on Instagram. Do they enjoy watching you work?
The twins are my best work! You've seen them! They prefer it when I just stare at them. They hate when you look away.
You're one of the three founders of MAC cosmetics and currently, are the head of Creative Development of Bobbi Brown, is that correct? What does that entail exactly?
MAC Cosmetics is from my hometown. I worked there with them back before cell phones. I work with everyone at the Estée Lauder group. Bobbi brown, smashbox, Bumble and Bumble. I'm even doing a fun project for Jane Lauder, the brand new head of Clinique. It's the best gig for someone with focus issues. John Demsey, my big boss, knows how to play me.
Social media has given you a huge outlet to showcase your work. The fact that the CFDA created an entire category dedicated to Instagram seems very telling. Does technology play a role into your creation process at all?
Steve jobs is paying for my kids' college basically! Instagram not only inspires me hourly, it’s on a phone that comes with a Sony camera! Then I snap and upload a picture onto trendabl app and sell it! And I've never left my studio! It's genius.