Prior to earning himself the moniker “the Andy Warhol of Instagram,” Donald Robertson was your average father of five. He worked in Manhattan with a daily commute from Westchester, and compulsive drawing was simply a hobby. It wasn’t until Robertson established an Instagram account in 2012 that he exploded into an inspiration not only for those in the worlds of art and fashion, but to all who have viewed his work.
Recognized by his hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram as @drawbertson, it comes as no surprise that Assouline—the premier brand for luxury reads—recently published a book praising the art and accomplishments of Robertson. This art has not only caught the attention of millennials worldwide, but has also charmed a number of mainstream superstars such as Beyoncé, who regularly collects his art.
Additionally, “it” brands like Smashbox and Bergdorf Goodman have collaborated with Robertson, contributing to his global rise—a presence that influenced the Council of Fashion Designers of America to nominate Robertson as “Instagrammer of the Year.” All this has collectively made Robertson the world’s favorite art bomber of the Instagram era. As said by Sarah Jessica Parker, “Discovering Donald is like recalling a bright, happy, vividly recalled moment from the past. His work and ideas of creativity are so wonderfully modern, very much like his own, and I will treasure the pieces I have and those I get to see.”
Assouline’s Donald: The Book opens with an interview with the acclaimed artist, conducted by his daughter Drue Robertson. The exchange highlights Robertson’s humorous and sharp persona. When asked to explain to the world why he is so proud of his first name, Robertson replies that he has always loved it due to its long history in his family. However, he goes on to express that none of his children are named Donald because of the sketchy associations like “the Disney Duck, the fast-food joint—and Trump!” He muses, “It’s a wonder anyone wants a piece of art signed Donald at all.”
The rest of the interview touches on Robertson’s artistic and educational backgrounds, inspirations, life as a literal “starving artist,” his family, and, most importantly, his deep appreciation for Assouline’s taking on “Project: Drawbertson.”
The remainder of the publication (and the vast majority of it) features the very best of Robertson’s work, as well as pieces he created solely for this eclectic volume. Most of the works included are coupled with playful anecdotes and quotes from creative industry leaders, fashion designers, and his many collaborators. Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino, best articulates the amazing impact of Robertson’s work: “When you see a Picasso, you know it’s a Picasso; when you see a Warhol, you know it’s a Warhol; when you see Donald’s illustration, you know it’s a Drawbertson! That is the true sign of any great artist—immediate recognition!”