We had the good fortune of connecting with Rob Birt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rob, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Short answer is that I’ve known since a very young age I was going to do something creative. While I don’t believe in talent I do believe in passion. I’ve had the passion and a supportive environment to pursue my art. There are various items that still exist, from table legs to basement walls, that still have my scribbles on them from when I was five years old. I was also taught that if I was going to pursue something creative that I needed to do it in a way that would support me and my lifestyle. Supporting your creativity doesn’t mean you get to sit in the corner and wait for some grand benefactor to show up, hand you tons of money, put a roof over your head and food on your table. Supporting your creativity means learning your skill set plus learning how to make it profitable.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I will say it’s easier to say what I don’t do as a creative than what it is that I do. I would have to say that defining what I do professionally and creatively to people is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. I currently call myself an Industrial Artist and Illustrator. the downside to doing this is that there is still a large block of people that while they know what Illustration is they don’t know what Industrial Art or Design is or how to utilize it. Before Industrial Design became a more known term, not that it’s readily known, I found it easy to say that I was a Graphic Designer, to which the typical response was, “Oh so you do Web Design….” and continue to go on about what they needed done or what someone they knew needed. My response however would have to be, “No. Not that I can’t, haven’t or couldn’t do that…but you would probably find it more cost effective to work with someone that specialized in that area. I’m the guy that does all the other stuff and often brings it all together. This answer still leaves most people with a questioning look on their face because I don’t fit into the little box that they are use to having someone fit into. I continue and say “You see everything around you in the three dimensional world? I use my skills to make that look cooler or better.” Facts are I’ve done work that includes Illustration, technical, for patents, books, marketing and more. I do photo editing, logo design, and branding. I’ve shot video, done post production, animation, 3d modeling for video as well as game development. I’ve done construction pieces from set design to laying wood floors. I also do sculpture in clay, stone and that I’ve welded. While I have done Web Design or as it’s being termed now UI/UX Design I choose to be the guy that does the other stuff.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When most people come to visit I take them up into the Rocky Mountain National Park, specifically up Old Fall River Road. You end up giving a gentle reminder to make sure they drink lots of water and wear sunscreen even if it is an overcast day. If it’s just a day trip you can always come back afterwards to Estes Park and wind down at one of the local places like The Grubsteak Restaurant. Going across to Nederland and down to Idaho Springs has been an often fun trip as well and then catching a meal at either Beau Jo’s or the Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub. Another fun view along I-70 is Mount Evans it’s an amazing view on a clear day as well as a cloudy one. You just get to visit with the clouds. If you head to Colorado Springs I’m convinced Boonzaaijer’s Dutch Bakery is one of the best in the state. Other places of would be taking a white water trip in Glenwood Springs, making sure that if it’s spring time you visit Pagosa Springs while the flowers are in bloom, Bridal Veil Falls at the far end of Telluride, incredible to see and quite the adventure to drive down it, and Mesa Verde still astounds me anytime I get to visit there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Identifying to who made and impact in who you are and what you do is a difficult thing. Pointing out my parents is an easy answer, I couldn’t be anything without them. My dreams and aspiration were nurtured by them. The facts of the matter though are much more thick than such an interlocking puzzle of who you connect to throughout your life to create who you are and why. My sister drew pictures, My brother told stories. My 4th grade teacher, Mr. Lee, did clay pottery. My high school teacher, Mr Hinz, allowed me room to explore my own ideas in art. My college instructors nurtured ideas to make them viable for real world applications. The adult developmentally disabled people I worked with for so many years taught me compassion and humanity. My wife bought my art long before we ever got together. Who touches and invigorates your mind and soul aren’t just the people you know personally. Jim Henson made muppets, Spielberg made fascinating movies, Frank Lloyd Wright made amazing architecture. Georgia O’Keeffe taught me about color and nature. Leonardo da Vinci I attribute to being one of the first recognized Industrial Artists. There are so many more people that I could list and go on for a novels worth of mentioning but it wouldn’t be enough to complete the puzzle of those that made me who I am and continue to do so.