When you read that Craig has been close to get killed by "the stress of working 125 hours a week", trust me my allaroudtheworld friends, this is something quite difficult to even imagine for a french guy like me :) Of course if you ad together "classic" job, side project work on rock posters and tattoos, it may take some times definitly, especially when it comes to draw such perfect posters as Craig does. So in the middle of all this work, he managed to find some time left for the interview, a great great thanx to Craig ! Already 5 minutes I am working on this text, time for the french break !!! ;)
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
i’ve been listening to a lot of Obits lately. i just saw the Gyga reunion show at smalls so the Gyga black 7 inch is getting a lot of spins. a few other bands getting a lot of attention are All Eyes West, Frank and Earnest, Broadway Calls, Ninja Gun, Ponykiller, and I am always listening to Rocket From The Crypt and Jawbreaker.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I’m Craig. Originally from Blissfield, MI i spent a few years living in Pittsburgh, PA before moving back to Michigan. I have lived in Lansing for 5 or 6 years now. I love coffee, cats, motorcycles, abe lincoln, emotionally unavailable brunettes, and art and i hate sleep and free time.
When did you start drawing?
Picasso said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” I guess i just never stopped drawing.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
A little form column A, a little from column B. I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for graphic design but most of what i really learned and still use today was through trial and error and relentless hard work.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I’m the graphic designer and head of the creative department for the advertising company of america. that’s my day job, the source of my steady income. All of the real creative stuff i do, the illustration, the poster design, the album art... all that is side project freelance stuff. I do it because i love it. i do it because i don’t know how to not do it. for a couple years i was also tattooing, but the stress of working 125 hours a week was slowly killing me so i retired my tattoo machines a few months back.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I am a regular contributer/illustrator for Razorcake magazine. Which is a really awesome non profit magazine based out of Los Angeles dedicated to supporting independent music culture. i had a few peices in the last issue of color ink book magazine too, which was an honor.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
I’m influenced by everything i see and do and hear in one way or another. i have to try hard not to wear my influences on my sleeve too much. it’s easy to become a cannibal in the art world. it’s easy to rip someone off, sometimes unconsciously even. some of my favorites in the poster world are casey burns, tyler stout, ken taylor, scrojo, shawn knight, zach hobbs, aaron horkey (no relation), mike saputo... too damn many to mention.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
I come up with a concept, which is usually the hardest part, and then i usually draw something with brushes and pens on marker paper, scan them into the computer and do the layout and coloring.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
a combination of both. the computer is a great tool but i love working by hand too.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
sometimes minutes, sometimes weeks.
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 actually really love oil painting, and challenges, so i would totally take a stab at that. I like to mix things up a bit so i don’t stagnate or get bored, and so that people don’t get bored with me.
For which band have you already worked for?
oh man... so many... Coalesce, Small Brown Bike, Mustard Plug, Spanish Gamble, Less Than Jake, Broadway Calls, Cheap Girls ... just to name a few
For which band would you love to work?
I would loveLOVElove to work with Obits... or really any project that rick froberg or john reis have ever been involved with... and Rihanna
Do you choose the artists yourself?
More often than not the bands or promoters get a hold of me but i’m not above soliciting a band for work if i like them enough.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
coming up with the concept and making it fit the aesthetic of the band enough that it catches the attention of the people who would want to know that the band is playing a show in the area soon
You feature in the new gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?
Clay, the genius behind gigposters.com, sent me an email one afternoon asking if i would be willing to participate in the book, which i of course was more than just a little stoked to be a part of.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
the gigposters community is awesome. there are more illustrators, designers, aficionados, and all around bad asses in that “scene” than i could even begin to fathom and way more than i could begin to name drop.
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?
i hope to get a legit website up and running this year.
I just sent out some posters for the annual art of musical maintenance show at the goodfoot art gallery in portland oregon and also a ton of paintings and pen and ink pieces to the emp collective’s gallery in baltimore for a solo show there that will be opening on november 11th. you can also see my posters on telephone poles and club walls all around michigan, Ohio, Florida, and the UK.
The best praise you received lately?
well, you asked for an interview. being worthy of an interview seems like some high praise to me.
What can we wish you for the future?
if we’re making wishes could i have a time machine? i have a few mistakes i wouldn’t mind correcting