Tastemakers: Robert I. Brown

Robert I. Brown is the gentleman behind Craft and Thought and the senior editor for A & H magazine, a creative outlet and digital publication, respectively, where he showcases his passion for writing among other things. It’s not everyday that we’re granted the opportunity to interview someone whose work and work ethic we admire.

We’re privileged to present our time with him here:

Q- Robert, it’s such a pleasure to have you as our first guest to be featured on the blog. Tell us a bit about yourself.

A- Thank you gentlemen for having me. I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana. I pursue passions for a living, if that makes sense.

Q- Growing up in New Orleans, in what ways has your upbringing influenced your lifestyle, interests, and dreams?

A- My tastes are deeply rooted in my Southern upbringing. While my father puts what he does above what he wears, my two favorite things he’s taught me: 1.) Classic never goes out of style and your clothes should outlast you and 2.) you only get out of life what you work for. Ever since then, I’ve been afraid to buy cheap, cookie-cutter clothing along with being terrified of wasting my time when there’s fulfilling work to be done—whether that’s getting better at writing or working to better flourish relationships. My mother’s writing bug rubbed off on me and she’s been my biggest support system in pursuing this slow but steady journey.

Q- By the age of sixteen, you were running a forward thinking, well written and curated, inspirational men’s lifestyle blog. That’s not normal for any high school student. What moved you in that direction, at that age for that matter?

A- In all honesty, Robert I. Brown Style (my former website) was birthed out of boredom and curiosity. After school, I’d finish my studies and I remember creating a Blogger account to begin documenting my interests. I’d post clothing, thoughts, and occasional interviews with friends. My main motive was to provide a fresh, youthful point of view on lifestyle from a high school student. For awhile it felt like I was writing to myself, but one of my mentors discovered it.This then opened many doors for me and the only thing left to do was capitalize and execute on every opportunity presented to me.

Q- Currently you contribute to A & H Magazine, a men’s lifestyle publication. At some point, you were a contributor to Details magazine. Is that still an ongoing endeavor?

A- I no longer contribute to Details Magazine. However, I learned the most valuable lessons while I worked closely with a former online editor a part of the Details team. Experience is important when it comes to any craft and it’s best to learn as much as possible about your desired field. My eye for editing grew, my writing more succinct and sharper, and most importantly, I had a better idea of how the editorial side of publications operate.

Q- Are there any other publications or companies that you are or have been affiliated with at some point that you’d like to share with us?

A- While in college, I had the pleasure of interning at Quest Magazine (the same mentor who discovered my style blog brought me on board immediately once he got word I was in New York City) and Ebony Magazine. I also had the pleasure to contribute to Valet Magazine.

Q- You seem to have accomplished far more than the average teenager. What are some of your short and long term goals?

A- I don’t have any goals. The thing with goals: they set the chaser of them up with a false, illusional stopping point. I understand the idea of planning, but taking life one day at a time is truly a beautiful thing. We all have to learn to be more comfortable with uncertainty to a certain extent. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, and thinking we are is pretty arrogant in itself. Focus on today after all, it’s all we have.

Q- Where does your inspiration come from? Who are some of the people you look up to?

A- While I’m influenced by the greats before me—Fitzgerald, Astaire, Grant, X, Emerson, Hughes, Welty—they can only do so much. At the end of the day inspiration is procrastination. While they influence me, they can’t do the work for me—I have to do that.

I like what Chuck Close said: “Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Q- A gentleman as forward-thinking as yourself must have a lot of projects in the works. If you do, would you care to give us a hint at some things you’ll soon be working on?

A- Only finished products, whatever they may be, matter. I don’t know anyone who was ever remembered for “what they had in the works.”

Q- Well said. If there’s one vision we share, it’s to witness people gravitate towards their passions and who they are. How would you describe a gentleman?

A- A gentleman is one who does his part by contributing to those around him as best as he can and getting out of the way when he’s no longer needed.

The notion of opening doors and pulling out chairs should be the norm at this point. We have to do more than that.

Q- Do you have any words for gentlemen who could use some inspiration?

A- Find your purpose in life, because this is what you’ll grow ferociously passionate about. You’ll know when it arrives; you’ll wake up and do it before you eat breakfast and wash the crust out of your eyes in the morning. Some days you’ll forget to eat lunch. You’ll know. Study. Do research on it. Study more. Practice in public. Surround yourself with individuals who are smarter than you. Follow your dreams or you’ll end up working for someone who followed theirs. Never stop. Life’s too short to be locked down doing things you don’t enjoy.

Q- Robert, we appreciate you doing this. Is there anything you’d like to say, share, or enlighten us with?

A- Thank you gentlemen for considering me and much success.

Likewise, sir.

1 Comment

  1. I am so proud of this young men Robert I. Brown we enjoy following him ! Tanya videau

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