Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Interview with Richard Haines

Hello Richard, would you like to introduce yourself to my wasps?

Hi, I'm Richard

Clever clogs. So maybe you could start by telling me what you saw today? [My ingenious tie-in to your uber-chic blog ‘What I saw Today’]
That is ingenious, but unfortunately I'm in a tin can of an airplane on my way to Pitti Uomo. The lights are off and there's a shitty movie on. And everyone around me is in track suits. So, maybe ask me this tomorrow when I see the beauties at Pitti!

God that sounds awful, you should have asked to borrow my jet. So anyways, how did you end up doing what you do today for a ‘day job’ and can you recall when you first fell in love with the world of illustration?
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with illustration. I stayed with my grandparents at the beach every summer as a kid. My grandfather did 3 things every day: listen to opera, smoke cigars, and read the New York Times. I remember leafing through the paper - I was about 11- and I saw an illustration from the Paris Couture Shows. Keep in mind this is about 1963 - or 100 fashion years ago. It hit me like a thunderbolt. I couldn't believe someone could tell so much information with such an economy of line. I've been obsessed ever since. Now I'm on my way to Florence to sketch for the New York Times, so this is kind of an amazing moment for me, and I'm thinking of my grandfather a lot today...

Man you’re old but that was a lovely story. Now what I love about your sketches Richard is how ‘effortlessly’ you manage to capture the subject when one might look at one of your sketches [not to do them down AT ALL] and think to themselves [like one of my friends did] well I could do that! But they totally couldn’t if they tried – I mean for starters my friend can’t even write their name in a straight line. So how would you describe what you do, or try to achieve when sketching someone, and how long did it take you to find a style you were happy to roll with?
If a person draws every day, their style will evolve and develop - it's just a law of averages. My style changes with the medium. Right now I'm really in love with those charcoal pencils with the string that you pull to get a new point. They're super cheap but give the best line. When I started the blog I hadn't been drawing much so I was using roller ball pens and copy paper. It's changed a lot since then.

You are quite clearly a man who knows how to rock some ‘fresh’ looks. So for all the fashion fiends out there, which designers working today would you say never fail to assault your senses?
I love clothes, and I love getting dressed in the morning, but I keep it really simple for myself. I never buy 'designer' clothes - I can't afford them. But that's not to say I don't love seeing them on other people. It's great when it's well done. If someone said they wanted to take me to Lanvin or Dries and buy me some stuff I wouldn't object. Is this something you can do? ;-)
We might need to put Lanvin and Dries on hold until I’m working for the New York Times, but it definitely sounds like a plan.

Which trends are you seeing on the street at the moment that you like/dislike?
I still think hats on guys are pretty cut - especially when they're like straw and they get beat up and have so much character. On the other hand, I think the world could use a break from flip flops for a decade of two... okay haters, have at it. ;-)

Lord I agree with you. I am soooo not a fan of feet on people.

How about you tell my readers a little about ‘What I Saw Today’ and why you started the site in the first place? [Good call by the way as spending time on your site is much more productive than taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror]

I honestly started the site because I wasn't getting any design work and I couldn't figure out my next move. And there was something very empowering about posting that first post. It was something that was totally mine, my point of view and my voice, without a group (design) committee making the decision. That was exhilarating!

I bet. I feel like that when I take pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror.

Would you find it easy to pick out a favourite sketch of yours? And a least favourite?
Hahaha. That's insane. There are thousands of them. It depends on my mood. I'll see some and think "wow, that turned out pretty well" and others think "really?" and the "really’s" - the ones that aren't technically very good, are usually the ones everyone loves, so go figure.
Okay okay, twas a stupid question but there really is no need to mock me Haines - 1 strike
How would you describe your own personal style if you had to? [LIKE NOW]
It's pretty simple. I mean, I'm not a kid, so you're not going to see me in oversize tank tops and super short shorts this summer. As much as I adore it on 24 year olds. I guess style is knowing one's limitations. So I like well cut jeans - especially from APC. And well cut cotton shirts that can be washed and not ironed. J Crew and Gitman are great at this. My father was an officer in the navy and it turns out that was a huge influence on me. I can't go wrong with navy, white and khaki. Who can?
My next door neighbour – the less said the better.
Where do you find inspiration on a day-to-day basis [discounting fashion]?
I know I talk about this a lot, but Bushwick is still happening for me. More and more people are pushed out of Williamsburg because of high rents, so they're heading here. There's a strip right off the Morgan L Train stop called 'Morganville' that I'm finding especially inspiring right now. Very naughty art students.

Can you talk about any projects that you are working on at the moment or have in the pipeline?
Well, I'm on my way to Pitti Uomo to sketch for the New York Times T Blog, edited by the fabulous Bruce Pask, and I'm also working on a project that will be on display during the shows, so that's pretty major. I'll end with that!

You’ll ‘end’ when I say you end Haines. Four questions remain! - 2 strikes

Pitti Uomo exlcusive

If you were to engage in a come dine with me scenario, which four persons would you invite around for dinner and why?
If I was invited to dine with you I would want it to be just the 2 of us. awww But if I had to invite 4 other people I'd want Picasso, Jesus (and get his feedback on gay marriage), Abe Lincoln (same with him) and Diane Vreeland.
'Jesus' sketched by Richard Haines - WANT! [but how are we gonna make that 'happen'?]
A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit?

Haha - liar.
Would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question?
How big are you?
Bigger than your average man, but smaller than a giant.
If I was to gift you a one way ticket to anywhere in the world but you weren’t allowed to return, where would you go and why?
Ha, what the fuck are you talking about? You mean you'd gift me a one way ticket to my ideal place to live? Richard took this question for real and is still waiting on a bank transfer from me I can't go anywhere without my daughter, and I adore New York, I wouldn't live any place else.
Seeing as I now need to pay for you to stay in New York [due to a miscommunication] I'm awarding you your 3rd strike Richard, so its time to hit the showers!
All jokes aside, stay awesome genius!


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