The Eyeconomist meets artist Robi Walters in his London studio to learn how letting go of control helped him achieve his artistic vision – and to hear about some of his projects that include some A List fans.

“I just love that this very small area still surprises me,” Robi Walters tells the Eyeconomist in his Soho studio in Central London.

The 43-year-old has made a name for himself by creating mesmerising collages inspired by “sacred geometry, meditation, and recycling” that have been exhibited in galleries in Mayfair, Miami, and New York.

“Soho has a mixture of old and new. There is a lot of money, and there is a lot of homelessness. There are people taking drugs, there is a sex scene, there’s a gay scene, there’s a film scene, hairdressers and coffee shops. That diversity is an influence. I think Soho is reflective to my art,” he says, inspired by what he sees around his studio near Wardour Street in London.

Robi finds beauty in what other people throw away – creating intricate designs out of objects others would overlook.

“I’ll be walking down the street filling up my bag while talking to someone. I’ll see a cardboard box, or a crushed can on the road and put it in my bag. After a while they will be like: ‘What are you doing?’ and I’ll be like: ‘Don’t worry. It’s for my art’,” he laughs.

His current projects include creating art works which will be a talking point for diners at Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge’s first London restaurant – due to open inside Knightsbridge’s five-star Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel this year.

“I’m doing two round tables with my petals covered in resin,” he beams.

“The two main tables that you will be eating from will be my work. Tom has tweeted asking for people to send in old menus and I am going to make a piece out of old menus as well,” he adds.

 “I’ll be walking down the street filling up my bag while talking to someone. I’ll see a cardboard box, or a crushed can on the road and put it in my bag. After a while they will be like: ‘What are you doing?’ and I’ll be like: ‘Don’t worry. It’s for my art’,” 

Celebrity chefs are not the only ones to take interest in Robi’s work. He has been commissioned to make pieces for Dr Marten, and has collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney, U2, and Mary J Blige. Collectors include Thandie Newton, Jillionaire (Major Lazer) and Stellan Skarsgard. He is currently in talks with friend and football captain Mark Noble to create a special capsule project with a sportswear brand (watch this space!) – a prospect that excites the artist (even though he admits he is a Tottenham Hotspurs fan). And a major ambition is to open a gallery/creative space in Soho, London within the next year before branching out internationally.

Expanding his vision could never have been achieved, Robi says, without first learning to let go of control.

“I always thought I had to create every single part of the art to be authentic,” he explains, speaking very highly of the team of people he works with to create his pieces.

A music manager named Carl Leighton-Pope (who works with Bryan Adams, Billy Ocean and Michael Buble) was the one who taught Robi the value of working with others to reach an ultimate goal – and it has expanded his business far beyond an increase in productivity.

“Now that I’m managing, directing and encouraging and inspiring others, it’s all infusing into [my] work. But it’s giving me wider possibilities which I didn’t have access until I gave up my control,” he says.

With his art now taking the world by storm, letting go of control has never looked so good.

For more on Robi check out his website
and follow him on Instagram

Interview by Seamus Duff