One of hip-hop’s key creatives, Robert Gallardo is the man behind the videos for artists like Young Thug, A$AP Rocky, Gunna, and many more. Far from just a director, he’s also a noted installation artist, social media consultant, and stage designer, building the sets for Odd Future’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival with a larger-than-life style featuring scale model arcade game machines, crash test dummies, giant televisions, and other colorful objects. He has a millennial Pop Art aesthetic that mixes hip-hop style with bright splashes of color and humor.


Hi Robert, tell me a little bit more about your installation at Refraction Festival, what’s going to happen, what’s the concept behind it? How did you come to be involved with the event?

I came to be involved in the event in the same way I assume other people became involved, I answered an email. The email turned into a call with Malcolm and we spoke about my art style and how I could best fit into the festival, we landed on the idea of me creating the “advertising” between the festival acts. I created a set of anti advertisements for the festival that were designed to disrupt the viewers’ thoughts and give them a small moment for clarity.

You frequently recur to digital distortion and glitching in your art, reminding me of such names as Yoshi Sodeoka and Nam June Paik, does distortion of reality fascinates you in any way? Do you believe digital distortion somehow bounces back into the physical world?

I think digital distortion is fascinating because of my belief that we live in a simulation. In a world that’s a simulation, a glitch represents a break from the normal rules of society.

Deconstructing contemporary visual elements, such as fashion logos, represents a significant part in your body of work, what feeds your need for visual destruction and recontextualization of these elements?

I think I deconstruct these logos from a place of anger and feeling excluded from participating in the purchasing of the products these companies make, but also I was not able to participate in the wealth creation that happened from people being in a position to invest in these companies. It’s my way of taking some control back.

In your interview with Desmond Foster Child back in December, you were approaching your 30s, going to bed early, eating well, etc. How’s that going now? Just wondering why do you think so many people start trying to take care of themselves when they finally reach/approach their 30s?

My eating well is going well actually, I’m a vegan at this current moment. I say at this moment because I soon plan on changing that while maintaining a clean diet. I think people think of stuff like this when they’re approaching 30 because the reality of being 30 represents being an adult in our society. It’s just an easy benchmark to stop and recalibrate.

Do you like the world before the algorithm or after the algorithm?

I like both.

You dropped your debut EP Before the Algorithm during the quarantine, were you bored, or was this something you always wanted to do and didn’t have time? Or was it simply a creative exercise via a new medium?

I see all forms of creation as art, so me making music is a manifestation of that outlook. I think the quarantine gave me time to do all of the other things that it takes to actually put music out, like think of a title, make the cover and submit to the streaming services.


Watch Robert’s last performance at Refraction Festival HERE.