Donald Drawbertson Is Your New Must-Follow Insta Artist

Meet Donald “Drawbertson” Robertson. He’s owning Instagram right now — and in the odd six degrees of the fashion community, he knows everyone from Ariel Foxman to Reed Krakoff. His art examines and dissects this interesting world with the wit and humor of a Family Guy episode, no filters needed. Robertson has become to Instagram what Bill Cunningham is to The New York Times Sunday Styles.
His followers have grown by leaps and double-clicked bounds thanks to the satirical illustrations based on celebrities, fashion personalities, and impossible collaborations that anyone could appreciate. A father of five, one of the founders of MAC cosmetics, and an Estée Lauder exec, this Warhol on Instagram creates clever caricatures that reveal a true, interesting, and honest side of pop culture personalities using simple materials like brown paper, bright gouache paints, and an unlimited supply of designer duct tape. Nothing is off limits: Twitter, Instagram, HuffPost. Robertson had a field day covering the Met Gala and the World Cup.
Advertisement
For this artist, no pizza box is too ordinary to become a Louis Vuitton tote. He transforms Whole Foods bags into “Kermes the Frog” Hermés bags. Cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, U-Haul boxes, and newsprint don’t exactly read as luxury objects, but in Robertson’s hands they become Louis Vuitton trunks and Chanel bags. He transformed Pharell into the leprechaun on the Lucky Charms cereal box, wearing, of course, his iconic Smoky the Bear hat (the pop star liked it so much, he regrammed it). Robertson’s gone so far as to create his own fashion emoticons featuring industry insiders, Anna and Karl included. Famous fans, such as January Jones and Lupita Nyong’o have regrammed his hilarious artwork when they were part of the subject matter.
Robertson has found much inspiration from Carine Roitfeld, and as a result of this highly humorous and well-followed Instagram relationship, he was asked to collaborate with Roitfeld on a show at the Curve Gallery in NYC, aptly titled #Donaldbytheyard. A madras-short-wearing suburban dad and a French editrix hosting an event together? That’s the definition of an impossible collaboration, an idea Robertson loves to toy with. In the exhibit, Roberston took rolls and rolls of plain brown newsprint and, without cutting it, transformed it into a catwalk of color with illustrations of Roitfeld and other fashion icons. Buyers cut their purchased section from the paper once the exhibition was complete.
Following his highly successful show at the Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton (where his entire basement studio from Larchmont, NY — ping-pong tables, artwork, paint blobs, and all — was installed in a show titled #highfunctioningdad), he hasn’t slowed down in the least bit. Up next is Mitford at the Fashion Zoo, a children's book series featuring his fashion illustrations, out in fall 2015. Robertson’s work has also been used as prints on fashion designer Giles Deacon’s spring/summer 2014 collections. Shoe-designer-to-the-stars Brian Atwood also tapped Robertson for a little scheming, and J.Crew and Jenna Lyons have plans with Robertson for a collaboration on some very exciting items for us to enjoy in the coming year.
Advertisement
Clearly, the man is a must-follow. But first, get to know him by following his Instagram and hitting up his Trendabl page, where you can purchase his works. Now is the time to start following Drawbertson, for his fame will surely last more than the standard 15 minutes. Click through for a sneak peek at his art and an exclusive Q&A.
1 of 7
Favorite Media:
"Instagrum, as Tyler the Creator calls it."

Favorite color to use:
"Shiny black gaffer tape or pink gouache. (That is art-school speak for bright paint.)"

Why gaffer tape and acrylic?
"Super bright!!!! Dries fast! Comes off quick!!"
2 of 7
Your music of choice while working?
"Asher Roth. 'Fit But You Know It' by The Streets. HAIM, Lake Street Dive, Arctic Monkeys, Plastic Bertrand, Grimes. All stolen from my teenagers' playlists. I love their music."

Best regram to date:
"Pharrell for sure; he loved my toast post! Or, when Lupita Nyong'o regrammed my painting of her."
Advertisement
3 of 7
Why Instagram?
"I like a constant flow of art and ideas. Nonstop. Like a news network but fun and more visual."

Why did you choose the topic of fashion to cover and satirize?
"Instagrammers can't get enough fashion content. My followers have kind of Liked me down this path. I never really followed it so closely. Style.com makes anyone a pro!"
4 of 7
The process:
"Voices in my head! Instagram alerts! Miley Cyrus descending from a concert ceiling riding a giant hot dog. All these things are fodder for my daily posting sessions."

Inspiration:
"News helps! Like Betty Page’s recent birthday; I milked that to death. I am working on a thing of my wife shopping at Lisa Perry 'cause she just did!"
5 of 7
Breakfast:
"Coffee. A lot of coffee."

Energy to create various pieces daily:
"It comes from too much coffee."
6 of 7
Do you consider yourself an artist or a man with an Instagram account who is killing it on Trendabl?
"That's a really good question because my art is mostly just a vehicle for my ideas. I'm more an ideas guy who can paint and draw. I love visualizing concepts."

Will we ever see you illustrate children's books that have a fashion theme woven throughout?
"Yessss! The New York Post press piece cemented that book deal. The title is Mitford and the Fashion Zoo. Coming to a bookstore near you very soon!"
7 of 7
What are your five basic rules to follow when painting and posting for Instagram?
"1. Assume most people are smart and get a subtle idea.
2 Use bright colors.
3. Think globally! The whole world is watching!
4. Pink shit sells out in a blink.
5. No nudity! Instagram has zero tolerance for nip slips and you will get deleted!"
Advertisement

More from Books & Art

Watch

R29 Original Series