When life hands you candy, make art.
Over this past year, New York based artist Robyn Blair Davidson – or rather “by robynblair” – has built, established and maintained a successful career for herself through her candy wall art designs, prints and acrylic candy dishes.
Prior to becoming an artist, Robyn worked as the marketing director for a contemporary clothing company. Up until last year, she was the owner of her own consulting agency through which she helped brands with experiential marketing, partnerships and large-scale collaborations.
So, how did Robyn make the switch from a career in marketing to a career as an artist? More importantly, why candy?
If you ask Robyn, she can tell you all about her candy obsession, “I love candy and I always have candy on me, in my bag, in my house, everywhere!” Through this intense passion for candy, combined with a later interest in home décor, Robyn made the transition from a marketing professional to an artist-entrepreneur.
Whilst sitting in her living room one day back in 2018, Robyn got the idea to create her first candy art piece. As she says, “I started to care about my environment and making my space a reflection of who I am and one day, it hit me that I wanted to put candy on the wall! It’s so pretty and happy, so why not? I’ve always thought that candy packaging is an art in itself.”
For her first piece, In Case of Emergency, Break Glass, Robyn filled a custom-designed acrylic plexiglass case with Dubble Bubble gum, printing the title of the work in hot pink block lettering.
She also designed the exterior case to be, “1 ½ inches thick,” she explains, “so [that] it had depth, but also was thin enough to hang on a wall as fine art.”
Robyn then hung her work on the walls of her own home — next to one of her favorite works by Pop artist, Deborah Kass entitled, C’Mon Get Happy! (2010).
“I hung the first piece on the wall, and it made me smile,” she reflects. “It all happened without a single thought of starting a candy-based business or becoming an artist. I just made it for myself.”
A few days after completing her first piece, Robyn’s friends and family began to reach out to her to ask if she would make similar pieces for them. In March 2018, with their encouragement, Robyn posted a photograph of her work onto her personal Instagram account. Soon, she would create another profile under the Instagram name: @byrobynblair, which now has over 16,000 followers.
In the next month, Robyn would become a full-time working artist who promotes and sells her work to clients all over the world such as in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Dubai, Shanghai, Toronto and London. Currently, she operates the majority of her business and sales via her website: byrobynblair.com.
For Robyn: collaboration is everything.
Since establishing her brand “by robynblair,” Robyn has collaborated with other brands and companies including Name Glo and Dormify. In November 2018, her works were displayed in the window of Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In December 2018, Robyn made a set of pieces for Harry Winston, which were shown alongside the jeweler’s candy-colored diamond collection, Winston Candy.
As a former marketing professional, Robyn understands the importance of social media. She also attributes a portion of her career success to her prior connections in the fashion world.
“Brand partnerships have always been one of the most fun parts!” she exclaims. “I can’t help but feel, if I started my brand 10 years ago, companies like Harry Winston wouldn’t be reaching out to [me]. It’s a different world now and big companies are willing to go alongside emerging artists like [myself] because creatively, they know that’s what resonates on social [media] right now. I’ve been able to leverage connections from my old days in fashion to get a pop-up at Saks, something that would not have happened before Instagram took over!”
Even candy companies have contacted Robyn in order to express their admiration for her work. As she says, “since I started making my pieces, candy companies have been reaching out to me to partner on a new flavor launch or send me candy for future pieces with a nice note.”
Robyn’s Instagram, @byrobynblair also serves as another means of collaboration for her business. Using her Instagram as a visual portfolio for her work, Robyn will often direct her clients to this platform if they need guidance when picking out candy for specific commissions.
As she explains, “It’s the most amazing platform that I use to show what I’m working on, and [to] help give people ideas and inspiration as I work with them. Instagram is a great place for my clients to get inspired and see that they like and what they don’t like. It’s a win-win for everybody.”