Steve Harradine (US Version)

Steve Harradine (French Version - en cours)

Steve Harradine took his time to answer the interview, but don't believe it has eased my work. First Steve is mainly doing posters for 60s 70s artists, so that I thought he was older than he is actually. Looking at his birthdate on FB, I feared I was not interviewing the right guy. Scary isn't it ? Last but not least, Steve is in the process of getting residency in the US, so the dilemna for me is: do I classify him as an english, or an american artist (I say artist not citizen) ?! Life is hard when you are running a blog dedicated to poster artists. I'd go for "english"

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

I have a wide selection ranging between Lightnin' Hopkins, Fela Kuti, Captain Beefheart, Robert Wyatt, Fairport Convention, The Fall, Talking Heads, Family, The Who, so as the guest you may take your pick

 Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

My name is Steve Harradine, I am from Ross-on-Wye in England, a beautiful market town bordering Wales, and a place I haven't returned to for a couple of years, but that's soon to change..I currently live in Grand Rapids Michigan and I am teaching a poster design course at Kendall Art College..sometimes I do posters myself but its been a while I'm sorry to admit..

When did you start drawing?

ever since my early childhood so the late 70s..I grew to love it more at primary school, early 80s onwards

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

The latter, although I took art classes, but found experience and practice the best can only improve by yourself, others can give invaluable direction but the artist is on their own at the end of the day..doodling always helps

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

Please refer to question two, unfortunately I've never been able to live off my art alone

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Not regularly, only very occasionally when such an opportunity arises, as in this very case with your good selves :)

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

As far as poster design is concerned my biggest influence would have to be Martin Sharp, as well as, to a slightly lesser degree, Alphonse a teenager I was heavily inspired by Dali and the surrealists, as well as the renaissance and countless other painters, also sci fi art, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, but I think fundamentally my love of music gave me my own direction in terms of creating imagery - which brings me back to Sharp and his superbly detailed and organic psychedelic artwork for Cream, Dylan, Donovan, etc

What are the principal steps in your work ?

I conceive the idea in my head, sketch it out before I forget and use it as a foundation to build on..I use whatever source material I can find that works with the poster at hand, if its called for...

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

Mostly by hand, although a computer has been more essential for some pieces than others...the Bowie for instance required a fair amount of digital work as I wasn't happy with the original and I ended up needing a machine to get the result I wanted...usually the computer is just employed to tidy up and vary tones and contrast with some occasional colouring and lettering..

How long does it take you to do a poster?

I don't necessarily work on them eight hours per day, every day, so they can stretch over periods of months...if I worked on them full time, I would estimate three to four weeks..give or take

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?

It wouldn't be a problem as long as I am paid and allowed to get on with it without being persistently harangued to make changes; I think I'd have greater difficulty in working for parties I'm in no way partial to (politely speaking)

For which band have you already worked for?

Directly, I have worked for the Seeds, David Bowie, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Damo Suzuki's Network, Frankie Miller, Mogwai...via venues I have made posters for Jethro Tull (which is actually featured
on the kids TV show Zeke and Luther), Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention, Roger Chapman, Iron Butterfly, Steve Harley, the Misfits, Scotty Moore, etc

For which band would you love to work?

Motorhead, Black Sabbath, The Who, The Fall, there are loads...

Do you choose the artists yourself?

Usually, and if they agree, everyone's happy!

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

In all honesty I don't find it too difficult anymore..initially it took me a while to come up with ideas but nowadays I can usually conceive them almost instantaneously...some posters are more a hassle to work on than others, but its not really a case of difficulty, just necessary, extra work (see Bowie)...fortunately we can make corrections far more easily with the aid of a computer so if you have the means you can continue until you get the desired results.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

No, I don't feel part of a scene, maybe I would if I started churning the work out again..altho last week I finally got to visit my friend Steve Walters, I think he deserves a mention

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?

On my website, also published in the Art of Modern Rock (Jethro Tull), the Electric Frankenstein Art Book, the forthcoming Fistful of real life you can probably find my work at various poster fairs, altho where exactly I don't know...your best bet is to order directly from myself, as you'll get signed editions and the artist actually receives the profit ;-)

The best praise you received lately?

It's hard to remember anyone waxing lyrical about my work but I'm often praised with superlatives, which is always encouraging

What can we wish you for the future?

I'm currently going through the process of becoming a permanent US resident, so a successful application is my next target, and once that is achieved, to get my mojo working again and restart my career as a
struggling artist! I suppose you could wish for fewer struggles as far as that's concerned :)

Last question : Do you know anything about french rock posters scene ?

I'm ashamed to say that I know very little, if anything, but you're more than welcome to rectify that for me

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!

You're very welcome!!

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