Robi started off his career in design. Graduating from Surrey Institute University in 1996, Robi soon embarked on an internship he describes as ‘invaluable’ with graphic designer Swifty who, among many other projects, is known for Talkin’ Loud, Mo’ Wax and Straight No Chaser.
Robi went on to work independently on various albums, creating record sleeve artworks for artists such as Bebel Gilberto, Tanto Tempo and Innerzone Orchestra, to name a few. Robi discussed his original style and processes as similar to illustration: “I like drawing things. I was maybe considered more of an illustrator at the time… a lot of my graphic design was hands-on and handmade.”
An old friend and DJ Gilles Peterson approached Robi to do the artwork for Brownswood recordings in 2006. Robi has since illustrated and designed the covers for twelve of the Brownswood Bubblers albums. Talking about the inspiration for the album’s front cover, he said: “I like that the cover has stayed the same this whole time. I drew my friend’s place in New York from memory… just because I liked it.”
“I love the philosophy behind Bubblers; finding things that aren't necessarily big or in the mainstream. I like that it supports young people and gives people opportunity to promote and share their music.”
In 2010 Robi decided to launch his career as a full-time artist, focusing on his collage pieces and a few Breaking Records. It’s no secret he still draws; he exhibited a show of his graphic drawings in 2010 at the Hospital Club and another show the following year ‘Exposure’ in Little Portland Street.
Since then, Robi has gone on to exhibit as an artist predominantly with his large and colourful collage pieces. However, drawing is something that is still practiced in Studio365 frequently; through the animated series ‘Pointless Conversations’ and typefaces for Robi’s website.
The twelfth Brownswood Bubblers album is out now, available in stores and online.