Urban Outfitters' Display Artist Mentor Cory Robinson found some time between setting-up our Miami store and making his own art to talk about what's on his holiday wish list, and what he'll gift you if you're lucky enough.
Interview by Ally Mullen
I am originally from Connecticut, but moved to Philly in 2003. This is where I was lucky enough to get involved with the Urban Outfitters display world and I haven't looked back. I now reside in sunny and relaxing Tampa, Florida. When I'm not working, I sell art work. In the last few months, my wife and I have also been selling art and vintage clothes at local markets.
What are the best and most challenging aspects of working on store display?
The best part is traveling to places that I may not usually choose to go, working with all the homies that I don't get to see all the time, creating new stuff, seeing new stuff, and skating new stuff. The hardest thing would be the work and short timeline to accomplish so much. People sometimes think that we are just on some type of vacation sippin' fancy drinks, but we're far from it. We go in early and work late. You have to be focused and ready for a lot to come your way. It's not easy to set a entire store to be visually stimulating in a week's time. It's also hard to remember that you are not on vacation with your friends, so you have to keep your after-work activities pretty mellow.
Tell us about the Miami tote bags that you designed...
I submitted around 16 drawings—some maybe not so appropriate (cats doing beer bongs)—but awesome nonetheless. The team picked the one they liked sent it to the art department who added color. It was a collaboration really, and I am super stoked to be a part of it!
Let's talk holiday! What do the windows look like right now at your Urban Outfitters store in Tampa?
My holiday windows came out really pretty and cool. There are a lot of mirrors, gold and silver foiling, and lights. I actually got "proud of's" from the company.
What's on your UO holiday wishlist?
1. Urban Renewal Vintage Jansport backpack
2. Converse Chuck Taylor High-Tops in cream
or maybe Low-Top white
3. American Fleece Lounge Pants
4. Dickies Skinny Straight Work Pant
5. Grateful Dead Flowers Tee When you're getting a gift for someone else, do you tend to buy something or create it yourself?
I try to be creative and make people gifts. Sometimes the time slips away from me and I go into panic mode and just buy something. But mostly I try to create something special. Recently, I've been making these cats cut out of old skateboards, which are fun gifts. If you have a kid, I might gift you one of the onesies or puzzles that I make. If you get really lucky, you might score one of the T-shirts that I designed for Skatepark of Tampa with 'Lil Ripper' on them. Beyond that, you might get a Chili's gift card or a funny watercolor I've made.
Be honest: What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?
I don't remember how I got it or who gave it to me, but I got a $50 gift card to a grocery store. At first, I was hyped, like, "free groceries!" But once I hit the Googler and saw that it was a hour away from my house in Philly, I was super bummed. I'll never drive there and if I did, my chicken nuggets would be defrosted by the time I got home. I still have it, by the way, if any wants a Genuardis gift card. I've kept it like some sort of gift card hoarder. Where can we find you online?
My website mrcoryrobinson.com
. If you wanna see art, pics of my cat or my homie standing in front of weird cars (#gleepglopbycars
), then follow my instagram @mrcoryrobinson