Richard Leech (US)

Richard Leech (US)

Once again it is thanks to a surfing session on that I discovered Richard Leech work.  As far as I am concerned, I must say that Leech's work is what come closer to the Fillmore posters I saw recently, so who's that guy ? ....

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

Gods of Death by Cianide or Samhain.

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

I'm a full-time woodworker. I make custom furniture and cabinets by day and rock posters by night. I'm from Chicago, IL.

When did you start drawing?

I started drawing when I was a kid, trying to emulate the comic books I collected. It was the early nineties so Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, and Sam Kieth were big influences.

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

I was a terrible student. Never really paid attention in class, always drawing. It wasn't until i started taking art classes that i did better in class.

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

I make most of my living from woodwork but i try to spend as much time as possible in the studio, printing and drawing/designing.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

No. I work almost exclusively with bands. I was in a band and that is what I have the most contact with regularly, going to shows, buying records. I'd like to work with different people but there is so much to get done already!

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

Comic book illustrators initially, like Sam Kieth, Geof Darrow, and Mark Texeira. Then later designers like Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Gustave Dore, Albrecht Durer, Francisco Goya. I still love comic books though and try to stay current.

What are the principal steps in your work ?

Usually I begin with a sketch of an idea, as loose as possible (I tend to get hung up on detail.) Then I take some reference photos of details like specific objects or people in the poses I want. I pencil the design from those and then ink the whole thing, adding shading, texture and depth.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

I do most of the illustration by hand and use the computer for things like text and borders, though i usually just manipulate hand-drawn stuff for that too.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

Anywhere between a week and a month depending on the design and how much day work i have in the woodshop.

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 ?

I wish i was that flexible. The great thing about poster design is that people seem to be less invested in the imagery so I'm allowed to do whatever I feel is appropriate. Also, i haven't made an oil painting in about twelve years so... It would take a long time.

For which band have you already worked for?

Yakuza, Harpoon, Raise the Lantern, Shrinebuilder, Russian Circles, Keelhaul, American Heritage, HeWhoCorrupts, Indian, Canadian Rifle, Kylesa, Municipal Waste, The Swan King. A lot of chicago punk hardcore and metal. People I know and respect.

For which band would you love to work?

Om, Neurosis, Daniel Higgs, Yob, Unearthly Trance, Kongh, Cianide. Anyone really truly heavy.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

Occasionally I'll contact a touring band i really like and ask if they want a show poster, but more often I'm commissioned by a band.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

A blank page. Knowing that whatever goes on it will require a lot of energy and that energy deserves a great idea. sometimes it's a joy.

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

More recently I've met other designers. Before now I just worked for my friends in bands and for myself. I'm astonished at how many talented designers/illustrators there are working right now. You just have to look at sites like to see yourself. As far as other designers i know and respect the list is growing every day. Tom Denny was a huge influence for me, his work ethic and attention to detail. Josh Davis has been doing great work in chicago for a long time and was immediately supportive of my work. Ryan Duggan, Johnny Samson, Jim Ford, Francisco Ramirez, Erin Paige Armstrong, Stavros Giannopoulos, Crosshair printing, and of course, Matt Putrid.

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?

The best praise you received lately?

Ryan Duggan called me a madman.

What can we wish you for the future?

Mental stability!

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

no problem, thanks for your interest.

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