Danny Roberts is a a very inspiring young man. At the age of 13 he was already creating his own t-shirt line and by the time he was 23 he was already making collaborations with brands like Lancome and Harajuku Lovers. Not many with twice his age have.
I was fortunate enough to interview him for Look Books and you can read the result right HERE.
Dreaming Awake: An Interview with Danny Roberts
Hailed by magazines like Elle, Teen Vogue, Vogue Italia and Vogue Spain as "the one to watch" in fashion illustration, Danny Roberts is very humble about his accomplishments. To him, being recognized by something he does purely out of love is surreal and a blessing, but to the fashion world, it is seen as well deserved.
A talented artist from a very young age, Danny always had an interest for fashion and art, which he put to use for a small line of t-shirts he created when he was only thirteen. The t-shirt line continued to exist for another seven years, paralleled with Danny's incursion in fashion design school and his production of drawings and paintings that were inspired by his favorite muses: the models in the fashion campaigns and magazines.
Fueled by the likes of Gemma Ward, Ali Michael, Tanya D. and Polina Kuklina, the artist produced hundreds of portraits which were then sent by him to his subjects as a way of thanking them for the inspiration. By word of mouth his work spread through the internet via his blog Igor and Andre and became a sensation. Collaborations with designers like Rachel Antonoff and brands like Lancome, Forever 21 and Harajuku Lovers (owned by the pop star Gwen Stefani) have been added to the long list of accomplishments that this young man has accumulated.
Here, Danny Roberts shares with us his thoughts on art, the future in fashion and the things that make his life more like a dream.
Your work is very romantic and ethereal; would you say that your inspiration comes from a "dream world" or perhaps a vision of what you would like things to be like?
Yes, my inspiration comes most definitely from places outside of this world, or by images or models that look other worldly. I've always been a bit of a dreamer, and as far as I can remember, throughout the days I daydream about the imaginary world. I am really drawn to images or pictures, and I try to create images that remind me of that world.
In your work I see a little bit of Francesco Clemente, as well as Egon Schiele. Are you familiar with their work?
I am not familiar with Francesco Clemente, but I am familiar with Egon Schiele's work. I actually first found out about Schiele in my first drawing class at The Academy of Art. It was a figure drawing class and my teacher told me she thought my drawing looked like his. So I looked him up that night and fell in love with his work, I am a big fan.
Your work as an artist has brought you closer to an industry which you admittedly admire and want to be a bigger part of. Was that your intention when you started drawing and painting?
No, actually I went to school for fashion design, and I was planning on being a fashion designer. It just so happened that my first few classes were fashion illustration, and my teachers told me that I should pursue Fashion Art & Illustration for a career, so I took their advice figuring I could always do fashion design at a later time.
How was your reaction when you were approached by Harajuku Lovers for a collaboration?
I remember it was early in the morning when I read the email, and I read it over like three or four times before it sunk in that Gwen Stefani had seen my artwork before. Then I spent the rest of the day with a big childish grin on my face. It was an awesome feeling.
What do you consider to be your most significant collaboration thus far?
The cover for The Sunday Times Magazine from London was definitely the most special collaboration. It was the biggest honor to have my tribute portrait of Alexander McQueen in the cover of a magazine in his home town. He was by far my favorite fashion designer.
Do you see fashion as a form of art?
Yes, most definitely, because it takes imagination to design fashion.
How do you see the future of the fashion industry with so many technological advances?
I think the technological advances are going to make the fashion industry more open to its consumers. Already, I've seen a few brands launching ways for their customers to customize their clothes to fit the individual. I also feel new technological advances will allow a next level of access and interaction with every area of the industry.
Vogue Italia on-line said "One may get lost in wonder observing as He proceeds to give shape to his illustrations - and I believe artist Danny Roberts is perfectly aware of that, considering the countless videos on YouTube showing the artist in the act of painting." - now, are you aware of that? And how did the idea for the videos come to be?
(laughing) Well, the whole idea of time-lapse videos of me drawing came to me one day when I was thinking that if my favorite artists were alive today, what would I like to see more than anything from them? I thought it would be amazing to see them painting and drawing, and it would be great to see their process from start to finish. So I thought it could be something that my blog readers would enjoy.
What is your ultimate dream as an artist?
To be able to create the things I dream of without any limitation.
Follow Danny Roberts on twitter at @danny_roberts
You can also follow his blog, Igor and Andre at @igorandandre