Darren Grealish (US)

Darren Grealish (US)

Strange feeling I have with this interview...I really appreciate Darren's work, he has been really nice and fast during the process, he provided me with tons of pictures for the interview and real quality answers, his wake up music perfectly fits me but...guess why...I am not that sure I want to online his words. Sorry ? What you say ? "Jealousy" ? Me? Jealous ? Why ? Because Darren's got better drawing skills than me ? Well most of the guys interviewed here do draw better than me. Because he has tons of friends coming to his parties ? Well I have thousands of friends around the world (if you are reading those lines, consider yourself as part of them :)... Because he gets himself potrayed with Iggy Pop ?...... Shut up and read ;)

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

I woke up this morning, sipped my coffee and put on The Brian Jonestown Massacre
(and this is our music).
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

My name is Darren Grealish, I'm from Los Angeles, CA and I'm an artist.
When did you start drawing?

As far back as I can remember I've always drawn. At first it was your typical childhood drawings in school and as I grew it progressed to Superhero's like Spiderman, Batman etc.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

I never went to school to learn art. I just had a lot on my mind as a kid and would escape into my own world during class drawing things that interested me or out of boredom. When punk rock hit all of the sudden all these amazing album covers made me feel like there were other people out there who were like me because up until that point I thought I was on an island by myself. It opened up my mind and made me want to push my ideas and to get down on paper what was so naturally flowing through my mind.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

I've been doing illustration and poster art exclusively for a living since 2000.

 Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

I've done a lot of magazine work since the beginning. Spin magazine was a regular gig.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

My very first influences I can remember were the artists Kim Deitch, George Evans and Drew Friedman who did all the amazing and demented art for Wacky Package stickers in the 1970's! They were parodies of American consumer products like Crest Toothpaste but it would be Crust etc. I absolutely loved those things! Don Martin of Mad Magazine made me laugh and I would draw his characters all day. The television masterminds of Sid & Marty Krofft blew my very young mind. During my formative years artists such as Andy Warhol, Mad Marc Rude, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Gary Grimshaw, Martin Sharp and the Dutch design collective "The Fool." Film makers had a huge impact on me as well such as: Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch, Kenneth Anger and Stanley Kubrick. 

What are the principal steps in your work?

The very first step is researching the band or product. I like to get a feel for what or who it is I'm creating art for. If it's a band I'll listen to their music as well as look at previous art that's been done for them to get a vibe and sometimes to see what NOT to do. Second thing is to come up with the concept idea. This to me is the the most crucial part. There's a lot of kids out there who can draw so incredibly well, but it's the idea/concept of the piece that is always the key component to an amazing piece of art as opposed to just doing a really clean formulaic illustration.
The next step is doing a pencil drawing on Bristol board. Once I get my drawing to the point where I'm happy I then begin the inking process using pen and india ink. Lastly, I lay down another incredibly crucial part….the color. Your palette choice is so important because you can easily destroy a good illustration by poor color choices.

 Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

All my work now is hand drawn with a few exceptions. The computer is a good tool but I don't like to use it as my canvas.
If I'm strictly doing graphic design work the computer comes into play a lot more.
How long does it take you to do a poster?

Usually it takes me one day to do a complete a poster. Every now and then It'll take two days but I work fast. If I'm doing a commissioned fine art piece I tend to take my time more and will spend around a week on it.

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 ?

This is a great question. I work best when I'm hired based on the strength of my catalog as opposed to following strict art direction. I'm not a fan at all of people who for instance tell you to draw a little dog on a western desert scene with cactus, mountains, a broken down truck, tumbleweeds and clouds in the sky with a wolf howling at the moon etc. The vision the client has in their head may look completely different than what you create based on their art direction. To me it's a very bad idea.  Leave the cabinet making to the cabinet maker. I like to be sort of pointed in the right direction but after that stay out of my way. Keep the client as far away from your design concept as possible is my Modus operandi.
Commercial art is a totally different animal. The customer is number one and they usually have a clear idea what it is they want and you're basically their design tool. Logo design can be a total nightmare.

For which band have you already worked for?

I've done so many posters for various bands over the past 12 years but here are some that I was commissioned to do:

David Bowie, The Stooges, The White Stripes, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks, Nick Cave, The Roots, Motorhead, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Common, Modest Mouse, Ozomatli and The Killers etc.
For which band would you love to work?

I was asked this question in a past interview I did and at that time I said The Stooges but I ended up doing a poster for Iggy so that's been accomplished. Nowadays I would have to say Justin Beiber. Hahah

Do you choose the artists yourself?

No I don't. I'll do a poster if a band or person commissions me and I agree to the project. I have acquired enough street credit over the past 12 years and am also a huge corporate rock sellout. I'll do a poster for Britney Spears in a heartbeat just show me the bread.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

The laborious inking of the art is tedious and time consuming. The concept is the most important though.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

Not at all. I'm a self imposed Nomad. A loner. On my report card in grade school it said "Does not work well with others."

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?

My work can be viewed as well as purchased at my official website: WWW.DARRENGREALISH.NET
I'll also be selling my work April 28th at The Hard Rock Cafe Hotel in San Diego.

The best praise you received lately?

I would have to say when I was asked by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to submit my work for their permanent archives.
A total honor.

What can we wish you for the future?

To just be able to do art in this crazy economy and stay alive. I'll be out there on a more public level this year and have some great gigs lined up in various cities. It looks like I'll be doing The Hard Rock Cafe Hotel gigs in their various city locations like Chicago, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Orlando etc.
You'll be seeing a lot of me this year! I'm just getting started.

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

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