Charles Robinson has been fascinated by license plates since he was a kid and, eventually, he started collecting real license plates, mostly early plates from the 1930s and 40s, and the ones with simple designs that tell their state’s story.
Charles is a graduate of Campbell University and spent his career as an auditor and never had any ambition to become an artist until a few years ago, when he toured Italy and was so inspired by the art around him, he decided to learn to paint. He enrolled in classes at ARTifex Studio in Troy with the desire to paint landscapes. He quickly realized he much preferred the detail and natural charm of his vintage plates. His eye for detail is such that often the viewer's eye believes the plates are real only to discover they are paintings upon closer inspection.
In 2015, Charles received the honor of having his "First In Freedom" design selected by the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a new license plate design. A North Carolina native and historian, Charles designed the “First in Freedom” plate to recognize two important events: the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775, and the Halifax Resolves on April 12, 1776. These two events are also commemorated on the North Carolina state flag and are regarded as the first steps toward independence from Great Britain during the early stages of the American Revolution.