PEOPLEText: Sachiko Kurashina

Craig Robinson a.k.a. “Flip Flop Flyin’” is an English freelance illustrator/designer based in Berlin, Germany. He made this issue’s cover design and his exhibition is on at “Soso“, Sapporo, Japan in this February. Do not miss his original cute world made with thousands of tiny pixels. Each pixel has got a big dream of “Flip Flop Flyin'”.

Please introduce yourself.

Born in Lincoln, England to Steven and Carol Robinson, lived a happy childhood in same town. Spent a lot of time watching my dad, an architect, working while I was supposed to be doing my homework at the table behind him as we both listened to Human League or Queen records. As an adult, I’m obsessed with washing the dishes.

Please tell us your background before you established Flip Flop Flyin’.

I was working for a record distributor in London. Flip Flop Flyin’ (FFF) began as a small hobby, and ended up taking over more and more of my time and more and more of my brain.

What sort of projects have you done?

FFF is the main thing, with the offshoots, Shakse and Technically Perfect Hair also receiving not a small amount of attention.As for work, most of what I do these days is illustration work, but I’ve done some design and animation stuff too. I’ve done stuff for The Face, Afterhours, Shift (a lovely Canadian magazine), Shift! (an equally lovely Germany magazine), the (British) Design Council, J17, Levi’s, Motor Music, MTV Germany, Richie Hawtin, Sleazenation and Woodchuck.

Many interesting contents can be found within your site. Tell us your recommended content(s) and why?

I guess the most popular place to start is Minipops. It’s the part of FFF that made the site famous. Lots of people also like ‘Boy Meets Pixel’, a love story between a boy and a girl, played by Meg Ryan in my dreams, who is only one pixel big. The things that are my favourites though are probably the quieter less obvious things like a story called ‘George’, about a widow talking to her husband; ‘David mit einem langen Arm’ (David with one long arm), a story about a boy with, not suprisingly, one long arm. I like Pete & Bob too, they are owls who dance.

I am curious your working process when you create pixel works. How do you carry out from forming up an idea to the end?

Almost always I begin on paper. The only time I begin working straight away on a computer is if something happens accidentally and I use it as a starting point. But most of the work I do begins as a pencil drawing, which will probably lead to more pencil drawings, a list or two, maybe a quick sketch in Photoshop, then back to pencils, until I’m ready to begin making something. Once Photoshop is open, it’s a long process of trial and error finding ways to represent objects with the minimal visual details that working so small allows.

Where do you get an idea and an inspiration from?

Things people say, phrases, or things that flash thru my brain for a few seconds. If I’m lucky I can grab hold of them and work them into something bigger. I think the best analogy for the process is it’s like being a potter, making a vase on a wheel: you get given a chunk of clay, and if you are lucky, you can turn it into something beautiful.

What are you careful at when you create pixel works? Do you have any mottoes about it?

In a way, I think the work I do is all about creating the impression of reality. sometimes you could look at some of my things really close and they don’t look like the thing they are supposed to, but once you get down to 100% size, it will have a likeness.

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Minna Parikka