In conversation with… Craig Robinson

Our 3×3 instagallery has been running for nearly two years. We host a different artist each month—always a friend of Aesop, and always with a story to tell. The beauty of our gallery is that everything is temporary. The images disappear when the month is up, to be replaced by our next artist. Since we’ve started, we’ve been the ephemeral home of everyone from painters to photo journalists, potters to pixel artists.

This month we’re hosting artist Craig Robinson.

So, what’s your story? 
I was born in Lincoln, grew up in Thatcher’s Britain, and left the UK in 2000. I’ve been very lucky to have lived in a few wonderful countries, most notably Germany and currently Mexico. While it’s impossible to not be British, I don’t really feel British anymore. I feel way more of an affinity to Berlin and Mexico City than anywhere in the UK.

How did you develop a love for making art?
It was always around in the house when I was a child. My father was an architectural technician and he was into pottery, so my sister and I were always encouraged to draw and stuff. I really had very little interest in anything else at school. I did a 3D design course at Lincolnshire College of Art and Design, then jewellery at the University of Derby. I pretty much stopped drawing, though, for a couple of years in my mid-20s, got a normal job, but it slowly came back, and when it came back it was without the burden of needing a teacher’s approval. I just started drawing silly things to amused myself.

What techniques do you use?
These days I tend to mix up various elements. I noticed that things I drew with pixels, or with iPad apps (like Brushes or Procreate), or Illustrator, or SketchUp all FELT like my work, but often looked like they could be the work of different people. And it was this realisation that pushed me towards trying to create a series of drawings that combined some or all of those elements: to see if they did work together.

Which work are you most proud of, and why?
I did a drawing called Mein Berliner Würfel a couple of years ago. I’d lived in Berlin for seven years in the 2000s, and visited again for the first time six years. And it was so wonderful to be back and it felt like home, and I wanted to do a drawing about MY Berlin, the things I remembered from my time living there. There’s stuff in the drawing that visitors would recognise, but mostly there’s stuff that I loved that only Berliners might recognise (a specific kebab shop, clubs that no longer exist, a video store, that kinda stuff).

What’s the story behind one or more of the works in this gallery?
Well, as mentioned above, the mixing of programs, but in terms of subject matter, I’ve been thinking about jungles a lot over the past three or four years. I’ve been lucky enough to visit southern Belize quite a few times, and love being there. Hot, sweaty, trees, animals. I love what being in the jungle does to my brain, and I love the lasting effect it has on me. I quite liked the idea of imagining the various types of things I would ordinarily draw as elements of a jungle. Plus there’s a thing about borders and coastlines that I’ve always been fascinated by. I love how a border is a huge deal, but the grass and dirt one metre on either side is usually the same. The same worms or rats. And I like that coastlines are kinda the ultimate natural border, yet if you approach from the sea, above and below is mostly blue-ish with a thin strip of excitement in the middle where new things are waiting for you.

Catch our latest gallery here. Or see more of Craig’s work here.