Like a rogue archeologist, sifting through tombs in ancient Egypt, Roberlan scours through the popular consciousness stumbling on new pop culture artifacts to render in his digital artwork. Replace the fedora and bullwhip with a pen and a vibrant color pallet and it is not a stretch to consider Roberlan a scavenger of media history. With pieces showcasing the faces of Bridget Bardot, Burt Ward, Johnny Depp and Bill Bixby, Roberlan flaunts his knowledge of classic film and 70s television with the boldness of Warhol. Viewing his portfolio is almost like a history lesson in multimedia.
But he’s more than just a boob tube scholar; he’s also a tailor; stitching together modern trends and references and dating them with characters of old and retro art motifs. His piece “Selfie” takes the now infamous Instagram logo and sends it through a Woodstock makeover. With a lava lamp color scheme and Sgt. Pepper text banners the piece transforms the selfie trend into something iconic and nostalgic. It’s playful, groovy and has more style than you can shake a fist at.
It’s in pieces like “Lust” though where you really see his aptitude as a designer. While not necessarily a commentary on pop culture, the paint-splattered lips are a mash up of vibrant vectors creating depth, texture and taste. It’s a stirring piece that is unapologetically voluptuous.
His art harkens back to a more vibrant era, while utilizing modern vector software, he brings new life to the style.
KIH: It’s clear your art is heavily inspired by pop culture and vintage poster designed. Where did you first develop your interest in this style? Has new movies, music, pop culture references influenced your work?
Roberlan: When I first decided to do the kind of vector art was when I saw old Russian posters on a website. They were so simple and while they were in another language they had a strong message attached to them. So I saw this style as a good medium to show my message. My very first artworks are all in this Russian constructivist style. Later I started playing with the old advertising parodies. One movie that was a HUGE influence on my art was Videodrome, with James Woods.
KIH: What made you choose Adobe Illustrator as your medium? What draws you to rendering vector artwork?
Roberlan: I was always very fascinated by how easy and simple it is to work with the vector medium, that’s why I made it my medium of choice. I really like it. I started using Corel Draw for vectors but it really never gave me the tools and the ease to use I was looking for. First I tried to replace Corel with Illustrator, but was not that easy the very first time I tried to use Ai I really hated it. So I replaced Corel with (formerly Macromedia) Freehand and used it for a long time, and Freehand became my main tool for vector artwork for a few years. Then in 2006 with the launch of the Creative Suite I decided to switch to Illustrator and never looked back. Since then is my main tool.
KIH: There appears to be influence from Andy Warhol in your work. What other Artists inspire you to expand on your Pop Art style?
Roberlan: I was hugely influenced by Andy Warhol work. I always thought the way he criticized things using the advertising and branding like the Brillo and Campbells was so brilliant! Also very fun and creative! He was a true genius. There are really too many artists that have influenced me, too many to mention. But another one worth mentioning is Salvador Dali.
KIH: What is your favorite art piece you’ve done? How did you develop the composition?
Roberlan: One of my most favorite and fun pieces was the “Believe in Your Selfie” artwork. It’s one of those crazy and fun ideas that pop up into my head, I was in my lunchtime and made the vector of the old Polaroid camera. Then I looked at it and envisioned a lot of things coming out and around of it, like a crazy, psychedelic explosion. Then I started drawing all the things and voila.
KIH: When did you find your passion for creating vintage styled artwork?
Roberlan: When I was a kid I developed the interest in this vintage style looking for old magazines, old business cards and old signs from my grandfather. He used to work with construction so he had plenty of this. Later I started my first drawings and the movies I watched were my first inspiration and also advertising, which at the time I always thought as something magical. All these things combined over the years helped me develop the style I have now.
KIH: What inspires your artwork overall?
Roberlan: Everything. Inspiration is everywhere and everything i see and listen help me in my creative process. Really everything.
KIH: Where do you do most of your work?
Roberlan: In my studio.