Denim, a fabric that is as everyday to most of us as eating or sleeping, has marked culture and for over 140 years (and, aren’t you glad you don’t ever have to iron it?).
Robert, a VAWAA artist who teaches guests how to design and make their own jeans, denim jackets or shirts in the City of Angels in a five-day studio session, has decades of expertise with the fabric. He has fond memories of his great grandfather being a tailor in the Bronx.
“I just fell into it,” he says of his craft. “My first experience with a sewing machine was at a carpet store, and I sewed for him,” adding that his first real experience with denim was making jean journals which he invented as a result of meeting a lady in Las Vegas who “ordered 500 journal covers and asked if we can make the covers using jeans.”
We caught up with him in our weekly “Take Five” series to see what else inspires him apart from his art.
Q: What favorite childhood memory do you have that might have inspired you to find your current craft or profession?
I would say the jean journals. I used to sell them in various sizes with the paper already inside. One lady wanted them done with recycled paper, and I thought, ‘what a great idea.’
Q: What movies have you loved watching? Any that you can share?
The most recent one is Rocket Man—I really loved it. The one before that I watched was Yesterday, I loved that too. I loved Leondardo di Caprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with Leonardo and Brad Pitt. Anything by Quentin Tarantino is good, like Kill Bill. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also!
Q. What is your favorite pastime to do during the weekend to simply relax and unwind
I don’t do too much of that but I’m going to Lanai on Sunday. Even on Sunday I have errands to do before I leave! I go to the gym and swim and take a sauna and love to do that. I love going out with my sister, getting dinner with my daughter, and the beach.
Q. Name a few things (e.g. cooking) that fuel your creativity.
I love to cook: Last night I made some spaghetti and bolognese, I like making lasagna and garlic bread. I love cooking my mom’s old Jewish dishes like baked chicken. Also, I love to cook with fish.
Q. What inspires you?
I get inspired by other people. A lot of people who have inspired me to move in a certain direction, and to me it’s been a learning experience the whole way. If you’re making money doing something that you love, that’s rewarding, and a lot of people don’t have that.
To experience a mini apprenticeship with Robert and learn about the art and craft of using denim to make just about anything, visit his artist page.
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