Hailing from York, England, Hamish Robertson has travelled west to find his artistic home in Los Angeles. A multifaceted designer / photographer / publisher, his works take form across a wide range of media. In 2012, he started the Vacation Days brand to showcase his creations in men’s and women’s accessories, paper goods, and his collaborations with other artists. With an eye towards blending geometric design, texture, and the natural world, his works have an uncanny ability to feel familiar and foreign all at once.
What’s the concept behind Vacation Days? What’s the mission that drives it?
The inspirations for my artwork and designs come from my travels and observations. In most cases, one’s opportunities to visit new places or see things in new ways come on their time away from their working commitments. When I lived in New York City, I found I made the work I was most happy with when I was either out of town or in a larger-sized space than is typically accessible in that city. Moving to Los Angeles allowed me to live in that greater space and, coupled with an overwhelming sense that most people here are on some wonderful, permanent creative vacation, I formed Vacation Days to challenge myself to extract the essence of those days and have it be the catalyst for my artwork and wearable collections.
When it came to designing your website and store, what was the aesthetic you were pushing for?
Japanese editorial design is my principal inspiration when it comes to layouts for either print or web. When I built my store, I tried to design it with the same clarity, elegance, and space that I hope my products also exude. It’s important to give each product a plentiful margin of whitespace while not looking too spare.
What’s your favorite part of running Vacation Days?
Once I would have said it was definitely being able to make real the visual ideas in my head and do so in a working environment that truly feels like an extension of my own self. As the company has grown, I would say being able to package and deliver good to most of the U.S. states and a dozen other countries. It’s another area where I’m really influenced by Japanese retail. The attention to detail in product packaging is not only precise but done with reverence and care. If more packages were sent as the sender might wish to receive one, it would be pretty special.
If you could pick a dream partnership, who would it be with, and why?
I’d love to one day do creative collaborations with Cosmic Wonder Light Source, Fennica, and — why not? — NASA. I’ve done a series of projects in which proceeds benefited Best Friends Animal Society and Farm Aid — I’d love to keep offering items that can benefit others, too.
If there’s one thing people should know about your business, what would it be?
Beyond how to pronounce my name? I have an ongoing Guest Artist Series of multiple wearables and I love hearing from other artists and designers open to collaboration.