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Lonnie Robinson – the intersection of art and business

Lonnie R 2012-400ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Lonnie Robinson designs graphics for business cards, logos, stationary and posters. Although I initially viewed him as a graphic designer, I quickly learned that the graphics were only a byproduct of his full artistry.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us little bit about you.

Lonnie Robinson: I'm an artist. I say that first foremost because I have been creating art for most of my life. I've worked professionally over the years as an art director, graphic designer and an illustrator. But I've always made time to create art that stems solely from my internal thoughts and inspirations.

I grew up in Memphis and attended Overton High School under the optional school program because it was geared more towards the creative and performing arts. During my studies there I won a number of local and regional art awards, which eventually led to my receiving several scholarships to many of the top art schools in the country. I chose to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on the first ever John H. and Eunice Johnson Scholarship. There I majored in painting with a minor in graphic design.

CarleeMcCullough-160CM: When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

LR: The first time I visited the Brooks Museum of Art with my Mom. I may have been 7 or 8 years old. Seeing the paintings and sculpture made me feel a great sense of pride in that I believed even then that I would do work on that level someday.

CM: What kind of art do you create?

LR: Paintings mostly, however, I work in a variety of mediums and styles. Categorically, I would say my work leans more towards abstract expressionism. While at the Art Institute I trained more as a classical realist but I quickly ventured into more nonfigurative imagery.

CM: Who or what inspires you?

LR: The exchange that takes place between the viewer and art has always inspired me. No one sees a work of art quite the same as the next. There are times when I can see in the viewers' eyes an almost magical energetic exchange. That truly inspires me to remain an artist and to try to create work that elevates the spirit.

CM: What project are you most proud of and why?

LR: Well, locally I would say the stained glass windows at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. I was commissioned to design them after the designs the manufacturer submitted were turned down. I'm most proud of the work because I got the chance to learn another medium. The scale of the work and the four designs are duplicated on both sides of the sanctuary, each approximately 7 feet wide by 30 feet tall. I had a great deal of creative autonomy and was able to incorporate some non-traditional imagery including Adinkra African symbols and Kente cloth patterns that I had never seen done in stained glass. I am most proud of them because they require the light of the sun to truly enjoy them.

CM: Do you have a favorite artist?

LR: Early on I would say both Picasso and Henri Matisse were high on my list and still are. However, today I really enjoy the works of Jean Michel Basquiat and an artist out of Chicago named Theaster Gates.

CM: How does your artistry influence your creativity with business or organization logos?

LR: It helps me to stay fresh which allows the substance to the project to inspire the creative.

CM: How important is graphics and logos for a business?

LR: Very, we are a brand-driven society. Most of what we think of a business, organization or institution is first dictated by what we see. Graphic icons, symbols and logos are so integral in our day today it's hard to remember when it wasn't the case.

CM: What kind of services do you offer businesses?

LR: I design corporate identities, logos, brochures, annual reports, books, promotional graphics and illustration.

CM: Any closing remarks?

LR: Like most careers, I believe your success goes as far as your love for the craft. I found a career very early and I'm very thankful and blessed because of it.

(Lonnie Robinson can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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