coffee, on the run.
The first time I met illustratror Richard Haines it was serendipitous. We met in Chelsea nearly two years ago in front of a widely known specialty coffee shop, during a fall season of New York Fashion Week shows occurring at Milk Studios for MADE Fashion Week. Then, we talked about the art of drawing and the illustrator shared the value of feeling first. Known for sketching everything from ones mood to their movements, his latest creative output marries style to his own love for the ritual of coffee drinking, in one fabulous T-shirt.
This culture chats with Haines about intuition, his borough Bushwick, why he finds himself running home sometimes and the coffee shop that’s his ‘Cheers’.
c.: You are known for sketching everything from things in your day-to-day movements, current moods to the runways of fashion week. What pulls you to illustrate?
r.h.: Most of the time my need to draw is emotional – I see a person on the street, or a look on the runway and it’s just too exciting, too beautiful and too compelling to pass up. Sometimes I find myself running home to draw after being on the train because I see something that’s just too good to pass up. It’s a gut feeling…
c.: You’re based in Brooklyn – how does the borough influence your art?
r.h.: Moving to Bushwick has really given me a fresh perspective on living in New York. In some ways, it reminds me of the New York I experienced when I first moved here (1975)! There’s a realness and authenticity that I relate to in Brooklyn. There’s also a huge amount of ideas and creativity coming here – it keeps me inspired and aware.
c.: I love that! The New York of a yesteryear and for that authenticity to still be felt – it is so invigorating. When I first met you, we talked about drawing in the blind contour method. You said its better when you don’t see when you draw. What do you see when you draw?
r.h.: Oh it’s good we are clarifying this! Contour drawing is a great practice to warm up to drawing, to ‘getting out of one’s head’ about what’s right or wrong and good or bad about a drawing. I always look at what I’m drawing, but I’ve spent enough time doing contours to not let a ‘bad’ line slow me down – now I just redraw the line where I want it.
c.: What coffee shops do you like to go to and people watch and sketch from? And, why?
r.h.: I’m happy in any coffee shop in Brooklyn – it’s the best people watching. The local place near me is called ‘Little Skips’ and it’s become a local hang out – kind of like a Bushwick ‘Cheers.’
Oh I love that! Little Skips is bar none.
r.h.: It’s super comfortable and a great place to catch up with people, I give the owner Linda credit for creating that and making it more than just a place to get coffee.
c.: For your limited edition t-shirt ‘Today’s Mood Caffeinated’ which released this week, it features a drawing of a man walking with coffee, first ‘grammed December 6, 2014. I love it! I know the sketch was captioned ‘get latte, go back home’ and it featured some products and the destination of Little Skips. How did this sketch come about and what moved you to capture it?
I started a series called ‘Today’s Mood’ a while ago, specifically for Instagram. It’s pretty random, based on how I’m feeling at any given moment – usually determined by the weather, a holiday, time spent with my daughter. That December morning was a typical late fall day – probably cold rain, lousy weather. And I remember running out to get a latte and running back home. It seemed to echo the sentiments of most people that day – get coffee and then get comfortable! I love the series because it really strikes a chord with how people are feeling.
The T-Shirt concept came about through a conversation with a friend. We were talking about different ways to promote our work. I’ve done a series of T-Shirts with Prada, and a print collaboration with Dries Van Noten this SS15, so this seemed like a logical extension of my work.
c.: Can you share what pencils and or colors you used to create it?
r.h.: Sure! I usually start with a charcoal pencil, and lately pen and ink for a change. Then I use acrylic paints for color. As for brands, I use anything I can get my hands on, that looks interesting at the moment. Nothing specific, just as long as I like the color.
c.: How would you say coffee and its culture impact fashion? Is that impact part of what inspired you to create a shirt?
r.h.: Coffee is a huge part of my social life. It is such a way to connect with people, to not feel alone and isolated. Look at the way people go to coffee shops now, with a lap top to work, just to have that connection. I can’t say how it’s impacted fashion directly, but I think the cultural impact is huge.
c.: I agree wholeheartedly. So, what’s your default coffee drink?
r.h.: I’ll drink pretty much anything that’s caffeinated, as long as there’s no hazel nut, French vanilla etc flavor mixed in – that’s a deal breaker!
c.: How important is coffee, the culture of it and or the beverage itself to the creation and facilitation of art for yo?
r.h.: Coffee is the one thing I refuse to give up, and it’s the first thing I do in the morning – between helping me wake up to getting me out the door to creating a vibrant new culture, I can’t imagine my life without it. And we probably wouldn’t have met, or I wouldn’t have created this Limited Edition T-Shirt, so there’s that too!