Donald Robertson Has Your Next Quarantine Project Ready

The Instagram-famous artist gives ELLE Decor an exclusive DIY painting lesson.

donald robertson art tutorial
Brad Lansill

The next time you’re scrolling through Instagram, you need not go down a rabbit hole to find the work of artist Donald Robertson—it’s everywhere. Often referred to as a modern-day Andy Warhol, Robertson has mastered the art of social media much as he has mastered applying brush to canvas; just ask his 215,000 adoring Instagram followers. He brings his subjects to life using all manner of inventive supplies, from spray paint to gaffer tape. No surface—or cereal box—is off-limits.

Robertson’s talent is undeniable, as is his self-deprecating charm—and prodigious pace. He makes everything in real-time on his off-the-cuff feed, whether it’s a quarantine coloring book or a tongue-in-cheek fashion sketch. And we’ve been living for his #DTV art tutorial videos as a momentary escape from our current everyday life. So when we asked if he would be willing to create a work of art just for the readers of ELLE Decor, much to our delight—but not surprise—he completed a fabulous video and a mini masterpiece in a matter of hours. Check it out below, and read on to get inspired to create your own work of quarantine art.

ELLE Decor: For many people you need no introduction, but can you sum up in a sentence or two who you are and what you do?

Donald Robertson: I am an SVP of creative disruption at Estée Lauder companies. I’m currently based in L.A., working with Glamglow in Hollywood.

donald robertson art
This Corn Flakes box-turned-masterpiece is on our wish list.
Donald Robertson

ED: What inspires you the most in your work?

DR: I like a big laugh. This is not dark and heavy stuff I am churning out. I play to the room.

ED: What’s your favorite work you’ve ever done?

DR: I did a pretend collab with Hermès and Kermit the Frog. I call it Kermès. It sums me up pretty much.

ED: Tell us a bit about the fundraiser you’re conducting for front-line workers.

DR: I recently opened a workroom/art studio called #evettsmodelshop. I was hosting large groups of adults who were dropping in for art “playdates.” The Thyme Café is right next door, so they would wheel down food and booze. We were having a blast! Now the café is making packed lunches for hospital workers. I’m selling art and art downloads to raise moolah for this great cause.

donald robertson charity wallpaper
A bathroom at the Sunset Tower Hotel wrapped in Robertson’s wallpaper.
Sunset Tower Hotel

ED: Any other projects you can share details on?

DR: Yes! The custom wallpaper I made for the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood is now being sold to raise money for the out-of-work Tower Bar staff—#supportwageworkers is a cause I believe in. And it’s also available on my site. You can pretend you’re at the Sunset Tower even while being shut in!

ED: Aside from making art, what other activities are you doing while staying home?

DR: We play a lot of field hockey on our roof deck. We lose a lot of pucks, though.

donald robertson art at home
Robertson’s twin sons, who make frequent, adorable appearances on his Instagram account.
Donald Robertson

ED: What’s a typical day like lately for you? What’s most difficult?

DR: Lately? Oh boy. I mostly try to keep my Cali skater boys inside the house. It’s impossible. Then I make art and content. Then I wait for Tito’s o’clock! Most difficult: Not being able to buy potato chips as easily. It used to be too easy. Now there are lines!

ED: What’s been most helpful to you for coping with shelter-in-place?

DR: I have been waiting my entire life to be told to stay inside. I am in heaven. I keep thinking my mom is going to show up and make me leave my studio.

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For the full video tutorial, head to Robertson’s Instagram TV.

donald robertson x elle decor art tutorial
The gorgeous finished piece.
Donald Robertson

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