Photo by Sam Fidlin

Whats your name and where do you currently live?

Tom Robinson, Vancouver BC.

What was the original spark that got you inspired to start making art and designing clothing?

I had always been drawing, never really making art per se, just dinking around in notebooks with whatever pens/pencils I had until I realized I had a stack kicking around and thought “Ayy some of this shite could look sweet printed on a t-shirt.” So I banged off a small run of tees and thankfully the good homies were backing it. A little reenforcement to keep the ball rolling.

How long have you been making art and designing clothes now?

Its been an on and off thang for about the last 4-5 years.

Do you have any training/schooling or are you completely self taught in design and art?

The household I grew up in Australia was an eclectic one for sure. Everyone in my family was always up to something whether itd be bedroom graffiti, finger painting the living room walls or painting green flames in our swimming pool. Lets just say there may have been some dabbling in the devils lettuce from the family, if you know what Im sayin. It was always encouraged to flex the creative muscle and my whole family can draw amazingly, so being the youngest I was surrounded by their different drawing styles and interests. They were my teachers.

Explain where the idea behind Fools Paradise came from?

I had been nameless for quite awhile, and somewhat serendipitously in the youtube music vortex when a song came up called “Fools Paradise” by the Sylvers. I liked the feel of the words and what they represented. Were living in this false state of happiness, going about our day to day while there so much shit popping off around us thats out of our control. May as well look nice doing it. Jah feel meh?

Was Fools Paradise the first ‘brand’ you’ve done?

The one and only.

What does Fools Paradise mean to you?

Its like a child to me. When it was born I was so fired up about it and put a lot of time and energy into raising it. Then a couple years in, it was pissing me off and I felt too forced to keep making clothing. So unlike a child I stopped caring about it and left it for dead. A year later the creative juices returned and Fools was reborn.

Are there any similarities you’ve noticed in your design process as your skateboard process?

Yes. There is no rhyme or reason to anything I do. Im a wet noodle on a skateboard and also in design. All I know is zooms help both significantly.

Whats the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome at this point with Fools?

The hardest thing I have encountered over the years of doing this, is the importance of social media and self promotion. Not not the best at keeping up with it, but in this day and age that shit is everything. That and dealing with suppliers and manufacturers is a pain in my ass. Im a one man show, so it can get a bit annoying having to do everything. So if anyone out there wants to link and build, hit my line!

Do you think skateboarding has inspired your work in anyway?

Oh yeah, its definitely inspired my work. Just like skateboarding, some days you’re on one and others you’re dog shit

Where else do you draw most of your inspiration from?

Anywhere and everywhere. A sign that has nice lettering, ads in old nudie magazines, colour combinations in sports jerseys or digging through old records. Inspiration is out there, you just have to piece it all together. A dash of this with a dash or that and you got yourself something.

Are there any other independent brands that you’re stoked on lately?

Come Sundown (@comesundown) and Butter Goods (@buttergoods) out of Australia. Gotta support the motherland.

What are some ways you over come those pesky creative blocks?

The main thang is to never force being creative. If I’m not feeling it that day/week/month/year I won’t stress (that much) Thats one of the main benefits of doing this by myself. I never have any specific time product is supposed to come out which has worked for me nicely…especially when I put out sweaters in the middle of summer like a damn fool. Its cold somewhere though right? When in doubt, doink it out.

Any advice for people wanting to start designing clothes or starting their own small brand?

Do it how you want it, always back yourself and stand behind what you’re making. The minute you start second-guessing yourself you’re hooped. Have fun widget, otherwise whats the point?

.What goals do you have for the future?

To maintain.

Where can people find more of your work and clothing?

You can find bits and pieces on the Fools instagram @foolspar.a.dise or if you’re located in BC you can come to my place and look through my stack of notebooks and overcrowded anxiety producing desktop on my computer!

Be sure to give Tom a follow to check out his skating and of course Fools Paradise to see more clothing and how to get a hold of some yourself!