As told to Katy Vine.
When I first started barbering [in 2006], I quickly figured out that kids wanted designs on their hair, like swirls and patterns. I got popular with my designs, and a lot of people started coming to the barbershop looking for me.
After a while, the designs got more elaborate, and I started doing celebrity portraits. I didn’t have a role model; this was a new idea for me. I started doing a lot of Spurs logos at first. And then I started doing, like, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili. Spurs designs were in high demand here in San Antonio. And that got me a lot of exposure. My first [widely viewed] video was a [portrait of a] Tony Parker haircut…. The morning after we posted it, it was on the front page of Yahoo Sports.
These days, I spend a lot of my time on the road, giving demonstrations of my work to crowds of fifteen to four thousand people, in places like Argentina and Brazil. But I still run the Rob the Original Barber Shop [on the South Side], where I’ve branched out to doing other celebrity designs, along with scenery like the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. I did the Last Supper on someone’s head. A few days ago, a client flew in from D.C. just to get a portrait of Bob Marley on the side of her head. I charged $400 and she flew right back out the same day. She was like, “I’ll see you next month.”
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