Meet Robin

May 24th, 2021
Image: Robin running sketch tours at AGSA’s Start at the Gallery | Photo: Nat Rogers

A child at heart, Robin has been working in the arts industry since 2006. An illustrator and teaching artist, passionate about inspiring children to develop their natural creative capacity, Robin is excited to join the Patch team and mould the new Education Coordinator role into her own.

What drew you to a career in the arts?

I was always encouraged to draw, write and perform - my parents met at art school and are both extremely creative. Straight out of school I studied law, but I couldn’t keep myself away from the arts. While taking a gap year to paint murals and figure out who to be, a friend roped me into assisting with the school holiday program at Carclew. I was hooked. I started developing my own workshops and working with kids as a teaching artist at schools, libraries and arts organisations all across Adelaide, while establishing my own creative practice as an illustrator. Arts work has its own complex challenges but after 15 years or so, every day is still different from the next, and that’s pretty special.

What do you love most about children’s theatre?

I never really lost my childhood sense of wonder, imagination and play. I’m a picture book illustrator and a voracious reader of children’s books, so it’s no surprise I would love children’s theatre as well. Art and literature for kids just feels a bit brighter, more colourful and more filled with potential than anything else. It’s a space where stories can live, even without words, and where ideas can be explored in a fresh, hopeful and expansive way - unmuddied by the compromises of grown-up life. I believe that all children are artists, and offering them experiences that affirm, inspire and develop their natural creative capacity is important work.

Robin facilitating storytelling workshops at Hamra Centre Library

Robin with her first published picture book, Go Away, Worry Monster!

Robin leading a sketch tour through the Tarnanthi exhibition at AGSA | Photo: Nat Rogers

Image: Robin with The Huxleys at AGSA’s Start at the Gallery

What colour brings you the most joy?

When I was a little kid I didn’t like pink at all - I thought it was a silly, girly colour. But now it’s my favourite, especially bright, rich pinks like magenta and fuchsia. Pink is bold, warm and happy, flamboyant and fun. One of the best things about pink is that it contrasts fabulously with almost everything, making other colours stand out and sing. Pink with turquoise or acid green is the BEST…maybe what truly brings me joy is clashing colour combinations!

Tell us about your career highlights thus far

Well, let’s see…there’s the time I was on TV! I was challenged by Totally Wild to draw cartoon animals live on camera, including a rhinoceros escaping from a volcano with a parachute. Holding my first published picture book in my hands (Go Away, Worry Monster!) was a lifelong dream come true, and being shortlisted for the CBCA Award for New Illustrators was the icing on the cake. In my role as Public Programs Officer for Children and Families at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), one of my favourite projects was the family programming inspired by the eerie, sparkly soft sculptures of Perth artist Tarryn Gill. Queer performance duo The Huxleys transfixed children and families at AGSA’s Start day with their larger than life, ambiguously-gendered personas, dripping in sequins. On a much more down-to-earth note, it has been wonderful to build genuine relationships with kids, families and other artists over several years whilst working at Carclew’s Pom Pom kids’ art space.

What is your favourite Patch memory?

I actually did my high school work experience with Patch Theatre - way back in the late 90s! My memories of that time are very foggy though, mainly it involving sweeping floors and stuffing envelopes. So, my favourite Patch memory would have to be my first day on staff. I sat in on a creative development of I Wish…. Seeing the push and pull of the ensemble working together, marvelling at all the stage magic and mastery, and hearing the excited chatter and exclamations of wonder as kids filed in to see a preview performance. I felt so fortunate and excited to be a part of Patch’s world. That was only a couple of weeks ago, so I can’t wait to make more memories!