I am not a journalist. Shocking, I know. To be honest I am slightly rattled about writing this introduction (see below rookie move…of course Mitford doesn’t speak, idiot). You see, I feel the man in question here is so beyond clever, witty and prolific that I cannot bluff my straight up fanning into something equally as entertaining and thought provoking as his pop culture musings and family observations (#buythemnothing is going somewhere, I know it). My creative crush in question is Donald Robertson (@drawbertson). By day he’s the Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Estee Lauder (can I intern?) and by night he’s fashion’s favourite artist and possibly my favourite instagrammer. Described as the Andy Warhol of our generation for his speedy cartoonesque depictions of everyone from Anna Wintour to Beyoncé, there is no doubt he is one crafty dude; but add into the mix his real life moments as father to five children (including toddler twins Charlie and Henry who pretty much steal the instagram show) and it’s hard not too smile, laugh and feel the need to get out the bloody gaffer tape.
People always ask me about balance with family and work and I’m like, ‘clearly I do not have the answer’. What advice would you give parents who want to follow their dream careers, support their families and still maintain a really present family life?
Turn off the TV! Better yet rip it off the wall and chuck it in the trash. It’s a time suck. You’ll wake up fifty with nothing to show for all your down time.
Like a lot of people (182k and counting) I am a little fascinated with your home life. At the risk of sounding creepy I would love to spend a day in your hood. Between illustrating, painting, collaborating, exhibiting, instagramming, writing books and having a very adult day job, you’re a dad to five children including those delicious twins. Walk us through what that looks like in the morning?
Sleep has never been a big thing for me. I had a girlfriend once who slept in ‘til noon. I had to break up with her because she got up sooo late. I get up at four and go straight to my studio coffee machine. I work straight thru ‘til the first kids wake up. We are potty training three year olds so I’ll spare you those details. Then I’m off to work. I’m the SVP of Creative Development for Estée Lauder in LA. I work with all my favourite brands! GLAMGLOW, Flirt and Smashbox. Each is different and crazy great in their own way. Then I’m home to dinner with the Mrs. Then home in time to read the kids to sleep and yell at my screen-ager Teddy. My older two are in college burning through their inheritance. College is so $$$$$$$$
How do you think your kids would describe you as a parent? What do they think of your work?
The younger they are the more awesome they think I am. Enough said! My middle son feels bad for me because my style is too messy. He assumes wrongly that I wish I could be a Japanese anime star. Nope.
I really enjoy embarrassing my daughter by wearing men’s clothing. How would you describe your style? Most men have a formula and buy the same shirt in five different colours every season for their entire lives. What’s your approach?
Canadian, my style is Canadian.
At the risk of sounding random can you tell us a little about your wife? I’m tipping she is quite amazing. What does she think about your rise to Instagram fame?
My daughter says if it wasn’t for Kim Gieske we’d be homeless, possibly naked and unwell. I met Kim when we worked in magazines together at Condé Nast in NYC. Now we are all set up in California living the American Dream. She gets mucho credit. She is an Aries Taurus – April 20th. So don’t F with her buddy.
You always hashtag #buythemnothing which I think resonates with so many of us. Has your approach to parenting changed since your first child and the twins?
Yup. Rent Captain Fantastic. Best movie! Children need very little.
Who inspires you?
People who work as artists but live like finance guys. Warhol, John Currin, Koons. The starving artist schtick is BS.
Let’s talk about Mitford! Congratulations on the book – it’s beautifully illustrated and we love the gentle satire of the fashion world and the positive message it instills for kids about ‘following their dreams’. How did Mitford come to life? Is the character inspired by anyone you know?
Mitford Two is coming out this January. He moved to Hollywood! What a coincidence huh?
When Mitford becomes a movie (only a matter of time) who would you like to do the voice and why?
Mitford is silent so….
Is there any one person or project that you dream about drawing or collaborating with?
Nope. Google Drawbertson and Beyoncé. I’m done.
Let’s just say you wanted to draw me… lets just say. Not that I care, am interested, dream about it or narcissistically obsess over it. Are there certain things you look for when profiling someone? How do you choose?
I failed life drawing in Art College because I made everyone taller and thinner. I am successful because I draw people taller and thinner.
If you had one piece of advice for fathers what would it be?
Shop original artwork and limited edition prints HERE
Images all via Donald Robertson website.
Thanks to contributor Felicity Bonello for kicking my butt into gear.