Craig Redman Interview
Craig Redman grew up in Australia, studying in Brisbane before his whole life changed, he drunkenly entered the US Greencard lottery and won. Now New York based, Redman's blog Darcel Disappoints has fostered a huge following, with both brands and galleries taking an interest in his illustrated character. Craig is also one half of collaborative duo Craig and Karl, together they have exhibited across the world and worked with global brands such as LVMH, Google, Nike, Apple, Vogue, Microsoft, Converse, and MTV.
Megan Christiansen: Tell us about Darcel Disappoints, where did the general idea for the project come from?
Craig Redman: I started the blog as a means of keeping track of my thoughts and observations when I first moved to New York. My literacy skills are terrible, so I thought it should probably be an illustrated blog.
MC: Why is he so miserable?
CR: Ha, he's less miserable these days than he used to be. I guess Darcel just has high hopes for things and constantly feels like he's let down - both with the stuff he sees around him, and with himself and his own actions.
MC: Do you share Darcel's cynical and dark views on the fashion/art industry?
CR: Is that how he comes across? I tend to think he's quite into it, though maybe a bit of an outsider and slightly threatened by it. But yes, Darcel is essentially me, or I am Darcel - however that works. Whatever he does I do, though he tends to react in a slightly more ridiculous way.
MC: Tell me about Darcel's aesthetic, where did the inspiration for the name and look of his character come from?
CR: The name and look of Darcel were all decided in an afternoon. I wanted him to be as easy to draw as possible so he could be adapted into a variety of positions and poses, and so that I could easily execute the illustrations without getting bogged down in the process. Consequently he's made of very simple shapes. When I finished putting him together I Googled around for a name and eventually I stumbled across Darcel, whacked Disappoints on the end because I'm a miserable grinch and bought the dot com. His personality kind of developed from there.
MC: Can you tell us a little bit about your partnership with Karl and how the two of you hooked up?
CR: Karl and I have know each other since we were 17, we met during the first semester of college and have been working together in one form or another ever since. We operate as Craig & Karl doing a whole variety of projects from large scale installations to commissioned artwork. Darcel is a fun side project of mine.
MC: So how exactly does it work creating work with you in New York and Karl in London?
CR: It actually works very well. Because of the time difference there's no time for procrastinating or fooling around, we're more productive in this arrangement than say sitting beside each other. We speak most days on Skype when our hours overlap, we know what needs to be done and by when, and we can rely on each other to cover the others back if needed. We're open with our files and artwork, a lot of the time we are working on projects collaboratively so one can be working on it when the other is sleeping and vice versa.
MC: How do your respective styles change and evolve through working together?
CR: Our aesthetic is practically identical, with a few personal traits inserted here and there. Over the years we've seen our style get more and more refined, there is less extraneous components in our artwork, our work keeps getting reduced down to it's most basic components. Even though when you look at our stuff it seems very in-your-face with color etc, there aren't actually too many parts to the artwork, I guess we are trying to say more with less.
MC: Personally and together with Karl, you have worked with some huge brands. Why do you think your style resonates with and works so well with fashion and luxury brands?
CR: I guess it's just been a natural progression, we're both very interested in the fashion industry and a lot of our friends work in it, I think that comes through in our work whether we mean to or not. It's cool how labels develop a whole new concept or approach to a collection every season, it forces the creative process forward which I really like.
MC: Who would you love to work with in a dream world?
CR: Crazy Frog and Comme des Garcon.
MC: Are there any projects you are working on or have coming up that you can tell us about?
CR: We're working on artwork for the exterior of a plane for Turkish Airlines, we're concepting for a massive installation in Moscow for September, we just finished an exhibition for I.T. in Hong Kong, and there's some stuff for Nike/Jordan coming out soon. I'm working on paintings of my portraits for an upcoming show and there's some new Darcel products with colette as well as his regular blog posts with Opening Ceremony.
MC: Finally, if Darcel could have three people (dead or alive) at a dinner party, who would they be?
CR: Keiichi Tanaami, Ettore Sottsass and Kevin Shields.
Photographer - Ying Ang