Interview and images from 25th November 2015, London.
Mariell A. Lind Hansen
I had arranged to meet Rob last week but when the morning arrived I was awoken by an ominous message with an attached close-up of Rob’s face.
“Caught a squash ball in my eye this morning. What do you think about doing next week?”
This is Rob Flowers, who I promise is as fun and colourful as his illustrations. And I’m not just referring to the lilac garland around his eye.
He was the single boy with two sisters, subsequently spoiled with all the really cool toys. This was the birth of his obsession for the small creatures that now cover the entirety of his studio wall.
Some of them having survived the journey from his boyhood. He tells me his favorites are the McDonalds ones from the 70s and 80s as he shows me a hand-doll acquired from German ebay.
Rob graduated 6 years ago from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University where he studied Illustration and Animation.
“2 years ago I was a part of an illustration exhibition called Pick me Up, and immediately after that I got an agent, and I thought YES I am sorted! I soon figured out that having an agent still requires hard work from me, and it was only about half a year ago that I started feeling like I’m actually earning decent money”.
Having an agent can also be rather helpful in not making mistakes when dealing with clients.
“I’ll spend a whole day on German ebay looking for a particular toy that I have in mind. Some of these are really hard to get hold of”.
I ask about the rather freaky masks hanging above his head. They seem surprisingly new looking for something I could only imagine were made centuries ago. Rob explains they were bought in Translyvania where there is a rigorous tradition of maintaining ancient arts and crafts.
Others might save up for an expensive handbag or coat, but for Rob only vintage toys (and fury masks!?) can rock his boat. “I’ll spend a whole day on German ebay looking for a particular toy that I have in mind. Some of these are really hard to get hold of”.
He doesn’t have a doorbell or mailbox in his studio, so whenever he orders something from ebay he has to ship it to his home address where his girlfriend, who thinks Robs collection is starting to get a bit out of hand already, watches out for their imminent arrival. My guess is that his girlfriends watching the mailbox, is the only reason why we haven’t yet seen Rob on Britain’s biggest hoarders.
In his defense, they do have eerie aptitude to inspire and I almost feel the urge to start inanely doodling myself.
Rob is represented by Blinkart.
To see more of his illustrations go to www.robflowers.co.uk.