Chris Hitchman (UK)
I discovered Chris' work thanx to Monster Magnet. His stunning poster for the Spine of God tour was just so perfect I couldn't afford not to have him on the blog. So welcome Mr Hitchman and, of course, a very happy new year !!!
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Right now silence, but usually my music taste is all over the place and changes constantly, depending on mood and what I'm working on. Melvins, Múm, Brian Jonestown, Dead Meadow, Tom Waits, 13th Floor Elevators, Blonde Redhead, Mazzy Star, Swans, Comets on Fire, Black Angels... to name a few on the playlist recently, along with some weird noise rock and a load of obscure garage bands.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Chris Hitchman. I'm from South Wales. Aged 27. I like art and music and attempting to combine the two. I wish I had more posters to show, I'm actually working on three right now so I'll keep you updated!
When did you start drawing?
As soon as I could hold something to draw with. I think most kids draw and create in their own way, I was just slightly more obsessive about it.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your school books?
Art was my favourite subject in school and I'd quite often get told off for drawing in the backs of my books in other classes. I studied A level art but I didn't really have any direction after that, started a few courses, decided they weren't for me. Worked a few jobs, hated them. It wasn't until a few years later that I decided that this was what I really wanted to do and it's mostly been self-taught, do it yourself, find out what you can ever since there. I think only now, many years later am I finally starting to find a style that I'm comfortable and happy with.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living?
Not sure if I'm making a living but getting by, although some awesome projects have just started coming my way so I'm hoping this year will be a good one!
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
No. But I'd like to.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Life, and pretty much everything around me really. I feel like I follow so many artists, painters, illustrators and poster designers and keep finding new ones each day that If I mentioned just a few I'd feel rude for missing out others!
What are the principal steps in your work?
Think about it for way too long. Then panic that I have no time left. Think again. Sketch ideas. Rip them up and move them around on a lightbox until I'm happy with the placement. Same process with the fonts. My sketches are usually super rough and messy so I'll re trace the whole thing so it's clean and tidy, and then on to the inking. Finally scan it in and add colour if needed.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
Mostly by hand with a few exceptions.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Anything from a day to a week.
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'd like to think if a band came to me they'd have a vague idea of what they were going to expect from me. I wouldn't be comfortable accepting a job in oils as I don't think I'd be doing my best work and that wouldn't be fair, but I'm always up for getting creative and experimenting with different ideas and concepts. I've had some pretty weird ones already so definitely not a problem.
For which band have you already worked for?
Mostly local bands so far. I've been lucky to live in an area with a pretty awesome music scene that I enjoy and that has definitely helped me to get inspired, create album art, tees and posters. My first big job was creating a poster for Monster Magnets 20th anniversary tour of their Spine Of God album and I've recently been asked to design a poster for Mudhoney which I'm way too excited about!
For which band would you love to work?
Melvins!! Seriously though, any band that I enjoy listening to, whether I've heard of you before or not. I think the list would be endless! I think Tom Waits would be a fun challenge, not quite sure he'd dig my stuff though!
Do you choose the artists yourself?
I'm just starting out so I've mostly contacted bands I feel my style may suit, although others have started coming to me recently which is definitely exciting!
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?
I'm not too sure how to answer this one. There are other artists that I talk to, who inspire me and are helpful and supportive to each other, but I don't think I belong to a 'scene'. I do what I enjoy and think doing your own thing as an artist is the most important. Saying that though, there's a few artists from South Wales I admire, maybe that's my scene, artist such as Jimbob Issac, Oram, Godmachine and some awesome new talent from artists such as Gareth John Day at the Hand of Doom and Sarah Esprit.
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?
You can find my posters and other artwork at my blog, shop or facebook.
The best praise you received lately?
Most recently 'I like your style', because to me finding your own style is the hardest part. I'm sure I'm still not there yet but that means a lot to me.
What can we wish you for the future?
To get my art out there... More posters. More album covers. More awesome music!
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website!!
Thank you for finding me!