A close encounter with Robin Eisenberg — Sungenre Interview
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A close encounter with Robin Eisenberg

A close encounter with Robin Eisenberg

Robin Eisenberg is a unique Los Angeles-based artist and designer who has amassed a large following (over 343K Instagram followers at the time of writing) through her vibrant depictions of empowered aliens.

You mainly depict females in your artwork. How would you say your depiction of females differ to that of your peers?
Most of the women I draw are aliens (or mermaids) doing familiar things that are relatable. I really like the idea of something being strange and comforting at the same time, and of recognising yourself in something that you wouldn’t expect to.

Robin Eisenberg – Starstuff (2018), digital illustration

Reading the description on your website, you strike me as somewhat of a homebody. Would you consider your art a form of escapism?
Yes, that’s true! Or, maybe not a homebody, but definitely an introvert and a person who needs a lot of alone time in order to feel good. I can be a little work-and-desk-obsessed, but I do also really love travelling and exploring and sometimes I wish I had more time to do that these days! But, even when I can’t leave my desk, I feel like I get to leave it vicariously through my drawings which is awesome.

I understand you’re quite the Star Trek fan. Are there any female characters in Star Trek which you particularly admire?
So many! I love Kathryn Janeway and B’Elanna Torres from Voyager. I also always thought Vash (from TNG) was really rad – she’s an adventurer and archaeologist(/profiteer) who had a romance with Captain Picard and explored the universe with Q. Uhura is forever iconic and amazing. I also always loved Jadzia Dax from DS9. (Laughs) So many more but that’s a few!

Robin Eisenberg – Artichoke Sunset (2017), digital illustration

Are you a fan of J.J. Abrams’ take on the franchise?
Yeah! I definitely prefer the series, but I think the J.J. Abrams movies are awesome! I feel like the movies are somewhat catered to an audience who may or may not be familiar (or even like) Star Trek, so it’s understandable that they have such a different feel. I think I prefer the series because it is a bit more thoughtful/complex. But, I think it’s rad that the movies brought so much attention to Star Trek in general and probably brought in a lot of new fans that ended up loving Star Trek in all its forms.

Your consistent colour palette and depiction of fashion seems to be a throwback to 80s and 90s style. Would you consider MTV a formative source of inspiration?
Totally! I grew up watching MTV (and VH1) when I would get home from school, and music videos and cartoons of that time definitely influenced the kind of colours and styles I love.

Robin Eisenberg – Moon Balcony (2017), digital illustration

I think it’s so important for all different kinds of people to be able to feel seen and validated in the world around them…

Most of your aliens are strikingly confident, boldly coloured females coming in all shapes and sizes. Is it important for you to depict diversity in women?
Yes very much so! I think it’s so important for all different kinds of people to be able to feel seen and validated in the world around them, because it helps all of us to feel recognised and normal. If you only ever see one type of person in art/media, it makes you feel like an outsider. I love the fact that there are so many different kinds of women, and I want to celebrate that. I always try to, but I feel I can still do better when it comes to diversity/representation.

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Some of the works you create are quite sexualised. Do you find a lot of people get offended or is there a lot of support for the liberation of women’s sexual identity?
I’m sure my art might offend some people, but for the most part I feel like there is a lot of support for art that normalises women’s sexuality. I would love it if my art helped women to feel good about themselves, and I hope my art helps to celebrate sexuality and body positivity in general.

Robin Eisenberg – Send Nudes (2018), digital illustration

Do you believe aliens exist? If so, what do you make of the Fermi paradox?
Yes! I think the Fermi paradox makes for really interesting conversation, but I guess my take on it is that we are only able to assess the existence of extraterrestrials through our relatively limited means. What if some extraterrestrials are not observable by human senses? What if there are aliens who have a prime directive not to interfere with a species’ development until they are at a certain point of advancement? I think all of these “what if”s have been addressed already, but I do love those late night alien convos (laughs). Some might also argue that there has already been evidence of alien existence, but… *cue X-Files theme*

If you could collaborate with any artist, in any medium, past or present, who would it be and what would you ideally create?
Not a classic “artist”, but I would have loved to collaborate with Roberta Williams on a Sierra game in the 90s. Roberta is a video game designer and writer and co-founded Sierra Entertainment (Sierra made some of my favourite computer games when I was a kid). I would still love to work with a video game designer at some point and make a weird, rad adventure RPG!

Robin Eisenberg – Moonrise (2017), digital illustration