What happens when a Type A, military veteran and logistics-loving interior designer marries a Type B, go-with-the-flow illustrator and graphic designer?
Ringling College graduates Brian Roberts (Interior Design, ’02), and Becky (Johnson) Roberts (Illustration, ’00) are committed to creative and philanthropic lifestyles, and they have loved art and design since childhood. But the similarities may end there. A man of structure and technical know-how, Brian describes his wife as “organic, free… the kind of ‘ideas at 2 am’ kind of designer.” Becky will tell you all about Brian’s love of numbers and analytical thinking.

This pair proves that creativity needs to be challenged, complemented, and supported to flourish. But their pro-fessional—and personal—successes speak for themselves.

Meet Becky, Senior Art and Design Specialist at NASCO, and Brian, Principal Studio Director at WB Interiors, Inc.

So you’re both Ringling College alumni! How did you meet?
Becky: Well, we met at Ringling, of course. I was finishing my senior year and Brian his sophomore year. I was a Resident Assistant and he was taking my position. It was about this time that we started dating.

As graduates of the same school, do you find your creative approaches are similar?
Becky: I would say we have really different styles. He is more analytical, where I am a free thinker. I mean, he’s dealing with buildings and straight lines, and I am more outside of the box. He would agree.

What is it like living in a creative household? Do you inspire or contribute to each other’s work?Brian: In my role as studio director, I am more involved with managing people and client relationships. And, I work with a very diverse group of creative people with different ideas. Becky has become my confidante; she helps me step back from a situation to see all points of view.

Becky: I love to take work home. Sometimes I need a different perspective, so it’s nice to bring it to Brian, especially when I am trying to have a more conservative approach. And it works! He is analytical. And he sees through my creative block.

Annual report cover designed by Becky Roberts.

When did you know you wanted to study something creative?
Becky: I knew in 6th grade what I wanted to do—draw and illustrate.

Brian: Before Ringling, I went into the military. When I got out, I knew it was time to follow my passion for design, and Ringling was the best of the best. At Ringling, I switched majors twice before I found Interior Design, which appealed to my need to build things and my more left-brained nature.

Becky, managing a corporate brand is no small feat. And I see that you were the recipient of the 2015 LACP Vision Award for an annual report you worked on. How do you stay inspired and keep your work fresh?
Becky: Oh man, it’s a lot of research! And a lot of trips to Barnes and Noble, museums, sketching, art projects with our kids, and essentially, surrounding myself with people and things that get me inspired. I also get exposed to other artists at trade shows and events. It keeps me grounded and inspires new ideas.

So you have kids! Are they creative?
Becky: Yes—and they have AWESOME art projects with a little bit of help from Mom and Dad.

Brian: Yes, we go a bit overboard.

Becky: We get excited. But yes, they are both creative in their own right. One is looking at fashion marketing, and the other likes drawing.

Brian: And she makes short videos—with music—and plays piano. So, yes, I would say they are both creative.

Brian, tell me about your experience spearheading efforts with Homes for our Troops—an organization that retrofits homes for disabled veterans.
Brian: Well, Becky and I are now at a place where we want to give back. We are involved in many charitable causes such as USO, Homes for our Troops, Study Hall, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Canine Assist, Toys for Tots, and Family Haven (where Becky sits on the board of directors). In the case for Homes for Our Troops, I became a coordinator and, through my ties with the design community, I got so much donated for free—flooring, etc.

This was an incredible experience, and Becky and I are always looking for ways to give back to our community and those that need assistance.

Do you feel like Ringling College prepared you for your professional success?
Brian: Oh yes. I really enjoyed the small setting. It gave me one-on-one access to teachers on a regular basis. Ringling provided me the foundation and structure for where I’m at today.

Becky: Well—when I graduated I was actually preparing for our first child! And I got a job immediately in graphic design, which is where I fell in love with it. I’ve had so many opportunities since I got out of school. Oh, and the critiques helped. Every artist is sensitive, and those critiques thicken your skin and prepare you to handle the real world.

What advice would you each have for aspiring artists, designers, and creatives?
Becky: Do all the crazy things in your head. Put them on paper. You’ll see success.

Brian: Express yourself. Have fun. Learn. Enjoy this time at Ringling—it will shape you. It shaped us, and, at the end of the day, if I had to do it all over, I’d go to Ringling again.

By Stephanie Lederer

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