Sister Meets...Robin Eisenberg
As new lockdowns commence, political discourse continues and half of the globe is deep into a cold winter, brief distractions from reality can be crucial in keeping our sanity.
Robin Eisenberg’s ‘Cosmic Care’ provides an intergalactic-getaway to a utopia in which purple alien babes overlook the cosmos in a state of careless bliss. In her first book, the LA-based artist pairs her top self-care tips with her distinctly feminist artwork, celebrating the female form and romanticising the everyday.
‘Cosmic Care’ captures the feeling of exhaling, providing a momentary escape from 2020 and a reminder to ‘maintain your glow’. We spoke to Robin about all things self-care, Instagram, and activism through art.
SM: You combine the everyday with the fantastical within 'Cosmic Care'; we see three eyed aliens looking at computer screens and an outer space vampire flossing. Why do you choose to romanticise these moments?
RE: I’ve always loved the idea that regardless of whether you’re a human/alien/vampire/etc., you might relate to small moments like flossing your teeth or staring at a screen for too long. I really enjoy focussing on mundane moments but setting them in an otherworldly context. I like the idea of moments like that being universally relatable to lots of different beings.
Why is self care important to you?
Life can be so overwhelming and if you don’t make time for yourself, I think it can overwhelm you even more intensely. I feel like we all have a tendency to sometimes leave ourselves for last, prioritising other things, and I think it’s important to remember to make time to be kind to ourselves.
What do you think is the significance of releasing a book about self care during a pandemic?
Although I definitely did not foresee that happening, I do hope that it came at a time when maybe people needed something soothing more than usual. I generally make art in the hope that it will help people to feel calmer and better about themselves, so hopefully this book will continue to do that, even if it’s in a small way.
Your art resonates with a huge audience on social media, how does releasing a physical book compare to posting your work online?
It definitely has a feeling of permanence and is both exciting and scary! I’m very proud of it. But I have a tendency to overthink everything and can be a perfectionist about my work. I’m always updating drawings and fixing things that bug me over time. But with the book I kinda have to just let all that go, and let it live in the world which is a fun exercise!
You've worked with huge brands such as Vans, Netflix and Thrasher. How does the creative process of making your own book differ from the collaborations you've been part of?
With brand collabs, I’m taking my art style and interpreting it through the lens of a company. I have a responsibility to the brand and I want to represent them as best as I can. Whereas with the book there’s no one else to think about but me and the reader. I think that’s harder in a way, because you don’t have the brand to inform the work. But it’s also really satisfying because the finished product is just me and not attached to anything.
Within your work you invent a universe in which woman are at peace, joyful and sex positive – a refreshing escape on an Instagram feed! What were your goals and also your inspirations when creating this world?
Thank you! My hopes are that if I draw characters that feel that way, the people who see and share my art might start to feel that same way too. The art of others has been incredibly impactful on my life and my sense of wellbeing. I definitely think of art as a form of world-building.
The combination of realistic body imagery (like stretch marks) with completely fantastical alien imagery seems to be a solid fixture in your work. You spoke up about the controversy this caused in your collaboration with DC when some people were uncomfortable with the idea of a curvy Wonder Woman. Were you surprised by the response?
I genuinely was surprised, although maybe I shouldn’t have been? But I think I am used to my corner of the internet where relatable details are embraced, and diverse body types are celebrated, not shamed. Though it was sad to read some of the comments, I had a few people write to me and say that the artwork made them feel powerful, so that was awesome and made the whole thing worth it.
As an artist, do you feel any kind of responsibility in the way you portray women?
Hmmm, not a responsibility exactly, but more a desire to combat the shitty things that women deal with on a day to day basis.
You have recently commented on the US election and the BLM movement in your work. Do you think artists have a responsibility to be political in the modern age?
I think people have different ways of being activists, and even different ways of being activists through art. Some people highlight awful things in their art, as a way to speak out against them, while other artists (like me) try to present a world they want to see. I think art can evoke powerful change – and even if it’s not explicitly political, it’s powerful if it is coming from a place that is true and real.
'Cosmic Care' shows women travelling through space alone - what is the importance of showing solitude in this way?
I’ve always found comfort in solitude and as a kid I was obsessed with books where the main character was a woman on her own, making her way through the world (usually learning how to be a mage, or flying with dragons, or becoming a warrior, or something equally epic). Relationships are rad and I do like drawing them, but I think there’s something special about being comfortable with just yourself. It’s fun for me to draw that feeling.
You also emphasise the importance of relationships and spending time with loved ones as a form of self care. In a COVID free world, what is your ideal day with friends?
Ooooo.... I have never really been a big friend group person; I generally have more one-on-one close friendships. I tend to have a couple close friends who I’ll see every few months. I love just sitting with a friend at home, maybe drawing or watching ‘My So-Called Life’ and just having snacks and tea and hanging out together. Maybe we don’t even talk, we’re just in each other’s company. Even as a super introvert, those are the moments I’ve been really missing during the pandemic.
You credit Star Trek as one of your biggest influences, what else have you been watching during lockdown that has inspired you?
I just finished watching ‘Raised By Wolves’ and I really enjoyed that! I love dystopian future stuff. I also re-watched ‘The Witcher’ cos I got really into the video game. I loooove the video game soundtrack, and fantasy settings are always inspiring to me.
If you could live in any fictional universe, what would it be?
It’s a kingdom rather than a universe, but maybe Hyrule from Legend of Zelda! I want to wander around and cook fun recipes during the Blood Moon, and collect Korok seeds and fight monsters with the master sword and ride giant horses. My dream life!
What is one self care tip that you think everyone should follow?
Notice when you feel happy or content and let yourself enjoy that feeling for as long as possible.
Find out where to buy Robin’s book here and follow her on Instagram here. Interview by Laura Molloy.