Name: Robby Wilburn
Favorite Quote: “Sight sees the present, vision sees the future. Sight sees where you’re at, vision sees where you’re going. Sight sees present problems, vision sees future possibilities. Sight sees why you can’t and vision sees why you can.”
Rob Wilburn III known as JusBeenRobbed, is a self-made artist from Bloomington, Illinois. His distinctive style was developed while studying Graphic Design at Eastern Illinois University, and he is known for is combination of sports, fashion, and pop culture. The Halo, seen throughout his designs, serves as a reminder of who gave him the gift to create. Rob thrives on developing art with a purpose, that inspires others and creating work that will last beyond his time. Commissioned by individuals and brands, such as Nike and Footlocker, his list continues to grow as he makes a name for himself.
Everyone has a unique story, what would you say is yours?
I wouldn’t really say I have a unique story in my eyes it is pretty straight forward. I was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal, IL and moved to Dallas, TX in November of 2015. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a BFA where I studied Graphic Design. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, and it’s something I do every single day. That’s about as unique as it gets.
That’s awesome! So would you say growing up were you always creative? And how did you develop your talent?
Growing up my mom never let me just sit and watch TV, I always had to be “productive”. So I started drawing and playing with K’Nex and that evolved into what I do now. I grew up playing basketball, it was my first love and still is, so anything that I created then was about sports and cartoons. I has heavy into Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat and Dragonball Z, I would print off reference images for me to practice drawing. I did it so much until I knew it from memory.
Do you remember the first thing you ever created as an artist? Tell us about the process and how you felt after you showcased it to the world?
The very first thing I created as an artist was the Chicago Bulls logo. This had to be in the 2nd or 3rd grade I would draw it on everything! I drew it so much, I no longer needed a reference it was all from memory. Everyone in the class admired my work and wanted their own. That was such a great feeling at that age.
Who was the first person that #COSIGNed you and inspired you to pursue your passion?
My mom, she was the one who put that pencil in my hand. My idols growing up were Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson, my life revolved around basketball for my dad and me. But my mom was the one who got me into extracurricular activities outside of that like drawing and playing the violin.
What was the defining moment or spark that inspired you to step into your life as an artist?
There were a few moments in my life that inspired me to take that step as an artist. In elementary school I would draw pictures for all my classmates, I was that “go to” person for anything. In junior high I created warm-up jerseys for our basketball team. High School, I won art contests in my hometown and had a small side hustle going for myself. So when college came I felt I had the drawing aspect down so I majored in Graphic Design to expand my knowledge. God blessed me with this gift, and that’s why you will see “halos” throughout my work, there was no question what direction I wanted my life to go.
That’s amazing! After coming to this realization, what immediate steps did you take to start bringing your vision to life?
My first step was wanting to create a name for myself, literally a name. I knew my art would always be recognized but I wanted you to be able to look at my art and know it was me who created it. That is what started me down this road of having my own brand. I never want to put my creativity in a box and to be known as one thing, which is why I classify myself as a creative artist. I love art, music, sports and fashion and my brand will have a hand in each of those categories.
You recently hosted your first solo exhibit for your 30th birthday, tell us about that experience and why it was important for you to curate this?
My own solo exhibit was something i have been wanting to do for a few years now. I’ve done shows with other artists, but never one on my own. I wanted to start the ideation around a time I felt truly inspired, I didn’t want anything to feel forced. At the end of 2018 I felt the time was right and would be great to do it around my 30th birthday so I could make it a celebration. It was important to me to showcase all aspects of my abilities. I never want to be boxed in as just an artist because I am a creative.
Can you discuss the most difficult part of your journey thus far?
The difficult part about this process is creating my own path. I am not seeking to be like any other Creative Artist. I am confident in what I do and being and entrepreneur requires you to better your brand every single day. Even if it’s for 10 minutes I will do something to take that step forward. I want the world to see what I create and each step will always allow me be ahead of where I was yesterday.
What is one memory that you have that you reflect back to when being an artist tests you?
Other than being a Creative Artist, I am also the CEO of my brand. At the moment I handle the finances, marketing, anything associated with JusBeenRobbed is done through me. With that comes many trials and errors. I’ve lost time and money in this entire process and I am still learning. Art is vulnerable, it may not resonate with everyone that sees it and that’s something I am fine with. As long as I put forth my best effort and know I love the piece I created, I know it will have an impact on someone. My most recent test was putting on my first Solo Showcase, making it a free event and me planning it from top to bottom. I put up my own money and my ultimate goal was to inspire at least one person. I didn’t care about making back, I was focused on putting on a showcase the way I envisioned. The process was stressful and I made many changes, I pushed back the date, changed venues, I felt every emotion possible. But I prayed and stayed resilient and God brought me through. The results was more than I ever expected, the entire process was a learning experience and will better me for my future projects.
If you could ask one question to your idol what would you ask and who would you ask?
I have many people I look up to in different creative environments such as Kaws, Michael Jordan, and Hebru Brantley. But my question to them is do you ever get to a point where you are satisfied with your craft or is that what continues to drive your passion?
You recently met Jerry Lorenzo during All Star Weekend in Chicago. How was that conversation like?
Jerry is super down to earth. I wish I could have had more time to speak with him, there would have been an endless amount of questions. In that moment short moment I just wanted let him know he is an inspiration and that I have been following is work and spiritual journey for some time now. He was great and willing to listen and take photos even with his whole family with him. It was great to see and be able to experience that moment.
Basketball is an important aspect in your art. How did the death of Kobe impact you? And as an artist how do you cope with it?
The death of Kobe Bryant still doesn’t seem. Growing up Kobe wasn’t my favorite player but the respect was always there. As an artist i felt inspired to create a piece in memory of him but want to do it the right way. I wasn’t going to make it available for purchase until i saw the Mamba Foundation that was set up and decided to send 100% of the funds to them. Kobe was more than just a basketball player he was a global icon. As an artist I often think about what Kobe said about the process.
“Those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
That’s a message from him that will always stay with me.
That’s deep man…What does being a creative in 2020 mean to you?
Being a creative in 2020 to me means Freedom. Having no restrictions or limits on my abilities to produce amazing work. Anything that hinders that process or will not allow me to have that creative range I will have to say “no” to.
Last but not least, list 5 people you #COSIGN along with their IG handle.
Ashley Brown – @smackthatash_
Christian Baker – @christianlbaker
Mychal Baker – @phrshly_blessed
Chris Washington – @sensei_supreme
Alex Clark – @lex__nikol