Artist Spotlight: Christian RobinsonMarch 28, 2014
We are ever-so-excited to be interviewing Red Cap artist, Christian Robinson in the artist spotlight today! He is the illustrator of Harlem's Little Blackbird, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2013, and most recently won the Ezra Jack Keats Award for his work in Rain!. Christian currently lives in San Francisco where he works mostly in the medium of paper-cuts and animation. His illustrations make us so happy! We're honored to have him in the interview hot seat.
We absolutely love your illustrations and papercuts–what is your favorite medium to work with?
Thank you! Paper cut-out might be my favorite. I love the texture and simplicity of collage. Cut-outs force me to design simple and rely more on basic shapes to communicate.
Did you always draw and create? Did you always want to be an artist as a child?
ALWAYS! As a child I wanted to be a paleontologist, Jurassic Park convinced a whole generation of kids that you could have a pet dinosaur. Later on I learned how to bring dinosaurs back to life with animation!
What is or has been the biggest inspiration for your work?
Epic question! So many things inspire me. Children's book illustration and graphic art from the 50s-60s, nature, simplicity, cities, children's art, animation, fine art, music, I could keep going.
Click the image below for an old blogpost on things that inspire me:
Do you have a personal admiration for Josephine Baker, ie your work in Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker? Are there other historical figures about whom you would love to illustrate a children's book?
Yes, Josephine Baker is one of my Sheros and someone who's story inspires me. When the opportunity to illustrate a picture book about her life crossed my path I was beside myself. I'll share this story that I came across during my own research, It just shows the magnitude of Josephine's heart.
What was your favorite book as a child and why?
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. This is probably too heavy of an answer: I was raised my grandmother and probably felt very empathetic to this baby bird trying to find his real mother.
You just won the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Rain!–how did you feel when you found out that you won?
GREAT!!! Like, please-don't-awake-from-this-wonderful-dream-great!
What is your studio space like?
Well, until recently my studio was a corner in my bedroom. Josephine was created in this sunny corner. But now I work in a shared artist studio.
What other contemporary illustrators do you admire?
Lots! Beatrice Alemagna, Kevin Waldron, Jean Jullien, Jockum Nordstrom.
What is your dream job (besides what you are doing now)?
Honestly just being able to continue doing all the sorts of things I'm doing now is the dream. I want to continue making animations, hopefully some music vids. Also to write and illustrate a picture book of my own one day.
What are your favorite things to do during your free time?
Dance, laugh and movies!
If you could vacation anywhere in the world–where would you go?
India is pretty high on my list, ooh or Istanbul!
What is your favorite piece or work you have ever created?
Thats tough, considering I'm my worst critic and often times find it difficult to be satisfied with my work. although it's that same unease that drives me to want to continue to grow and create. Sorry for the non answer 🙂
And–what is your all-time favorite meal?
Dang these questions are tough! I can always eat Pupusas (El Salvadorian dish) with avocado and rice and beans on the side. Oh and fried plantains are a must!
Thank you, Christian! Check out Christian Robinson on his website, The Art of Fun, or follow him on his blog.
Images courtesy Christian Robinson.