Picking back up our discussions series, we sit down with fellow Soho resident and artist, Robi Walters to get a little more understanding on his journey manoeuvring the art world and becoming the Artist in Resident at Aston Martin.
A long time Footpatrol friend, Robi, with his own studio and gallery within the heart of Soho, we wanted to also take a moment to look away from the year that has been 2020 and discuss with Robi the importance of spreading positivity and the reassurance with everyone around you.
Take a read below and have a look at some one off T-shirts Robi made for us at Footpatrol!
Footpatrol: Robi welcome, It’s a pleasure to have you here. Just as a quick introduction could you start off with sharing a bit about yourself to the Footpatrol readers?
Robi: Firstly thank you Footpatrol for working with me on this project, I’ve known you for a good few years now and a real pleasure to create together. I am a London born artist who has a gallery and studio in Soho. I represent myself and don’t know anyone else doing this in the west end.
FP: Your work has an extremely recogniseable look and aesthetic which instantly makes you think of you when you see it. Where did this love and passion for art come from, has it always been something you were always interested in growing up or did it develop overtime?
Robi: My love and passion for art has always been there but has also grown over time. As a young boy I always loved to create things and as a teenager I got more into graffiti. My current style and body of work has developed over the last 12 or so years. I think it’s difficult to pinpoint when inspiration starts. It’s now an obsession.
FP: Now it is essential we ask about your experiences within the footwear scene as you have seen it grow. I read that you were heavily into your hip-hop and graffiti, did either of these influence your footwear at the time?
Robi: I was really into footwear in my late teen and early twenties. There was a sneaker store in Kingston called Cobra, that was the spot! I even remembered the smell. A real moment for me was when I first went to New York by myself in September 1995. I was working with a friend Ebon on Def Jam records, Source magazine and a clothes label called 555 Soul. These were the early days of Stussy and Supreme. I bought a pair of Nike 95 the week they came out. This is when the internet was just beginning so forget social media or knowing what was happening in any city let alone country. When I brought them back to London no one had seen anything like them as they didn’t come out for months later.
FP: You are also the artist in residence for Aston Martin which must feel amazing! How did this partnership come together?
Robi: I bumped into a dear friend Mark Faulconbridge in a hotel in Mayfair – he is a global ambassador for Aston Martin. Mark invited me to the factory and to meet the senior executive Aston Martin team. We plotted from there and started to work together. I love the brand, car and what they stand for so much. It’s automotive art and it’s made right here in the U.K..
FP: Have you had the chance to work on any other exciting projects since working with them?
Robi: I continually work within a friend and chef Tom Kerridge creating art for his restaurants. Tom introduced me to Formula One. I made artwork to show with them at their Grand Prix’s, then Covid kicked in so that’s on pause.
FP: How important is it to you to be able to spread a message of positivity and reassurance to those who have been struggling with their own battles?
Robi: This is a very important subject to me. I’ve personally been through some very tough times, especially in my childhood. I’m still learning, making mistakes and self correcting. For me most of this comes down to the mind. How you think is the most important. The quality of thought can be trained but you have to do the work. Eliminate distractions and ask yourself what do you want in a no excuse world. I am currently working on my most ambitious artwork to date. If I stop and think about it it’s terrifying but I have to go beyond my mind’s fear (false evidence appearing real) and keep taking action. I believe we all have something very special inside us – it’s time to wake up and access it and show the world.
FP: Do you have anything you would want to say to anyone who may be stuck facing these battles and isn’t sure where to go?
Robi: This question may have many answers, a good place to start is with a book that has helped me so much called Psycho Cybernetics. Which means, ‘Steering your mind to a productive, useful goal’. This is a book about the self image and how to use one’s own mind. I listened to the audiobook on Youtube.
FP: You even have a well being podcast also, how has that been received have many people reached out to through it?
Robi: I have a series called “Wha Ya Chatta Bout”. So far I’ve recorded 5 podcasts Tom Kerridge, Mo Gilligan, Jake Panayiotou, Dj Spoony and Rob Rinder. I still have a few more to record and then will be releasing them in December. I’m also creating short animations for each podcast and something which I am very excited about. There will be a sneaker episode in the first season.
FP: What was the main goal you wanted to create through the podcast?
Robi: The Podcast is really to reach out to different people in different fields of work and really share about their life and whatever comes up. It’s really about the art of converstaion.
FP: Thank you for joining us today, look forward to working together going forward! Is there any last words you would like to give to the readers?
Robi: Its really important to find your own voice and work on it and share it. My message is simple meditation, transformation, love and light. We’re here to find our way home.The name of the body of work I based the t-shirt design is from a Joni Mitchell song:“we are stardustwe are goldenand we’ve got to get ourselvesback to the garden”