First off, we want to thank you for taking them time to interview with us today, and of course, for granting us access to your super fun illustrations.
Q: You may not know this, but you are the very first artist we’ve selected to be a part
of our up and coming line of curated products. How does it feel to be one of the chosen ones?
A: I did not know that—very cool! I’m honored to be the first.
Q: Here at Studio Manhattan we saw a lot of potential in your drawings being on 3D items like canvas and iPhone cases. Is it weird seeing your images adjusted for different products?
A: I’ve been working as a designer and illustrator for quite a while now and the excitement over seeing finished products with my work is still just as exciting.
Q: Does it change the way you draw or think about your work?
A: Typically with client work I am creating something for a specific application and that dictates how I approach the project. I’m always conscious of my parameters and where I can push them.
Q: How would you characterize your work? What are a few adjectives you’d use to describe your illustrations?
A: I consider my work to be loose and playful in a somewhat structured way. For adjectives? Hmm… I don’t know… crazy? Vibrant, typographic, bold?
Q: Your popularity grew tremendously after you starting posting “daily drawings” on your website. A lot of these seem to reference pop culture and politics. For example, the caricature-style illustration entitled “Rob Ford” that you recently posted as your 1500th daily drawing in reference to Ford's very controversial use of crack, etc. We all know the internet can be a pretty brutal place—have your images ever gotten you in trouble?
A: I started doing daily drawings in late 2007. When I first started getting attention it was for my drawings documenting the 2008 presidential election. I got some horrible, horrible (and stupid) hate mail. I even got trolled by members of a Glenn Beck messageboard. Good times!
Q: You’ve had a few books and magazines published recently. Do you have one that you’re most proud of? Has publication broadened the span of your audience? If so, how?
A: I’m most proud of “1000 Days of Drawing,” which documents my first 1000 daily drawings. A couple smaller books that I have done, including “All My Bikes,” have gotten recognized outside of the insular illustration and design communities. A couple cycling blogs posted about my series—I was surprised how much it resonated with people.
Q: Like us, you really really like bikes. For example, your book “All My Bikes” features drawings of every bike you’ve ever owned—32. Tell me a little about this infatuation.
A: I’ve been bike-crazy ever since I was a kid. I’ve been into all kinds of bikes, so it’s easy for them to add up.
Q: How many bikes do you own now?
Q: Are you more of a casual rider or are you in training for the Tour de France?
A: Casual—BMX has always been my favorite. I don’t ride as much as I’d like to. I need to change that.
Q: Which is more fun—drawing bikes or riding them?
A: How could I ever choose?
Q: We know you're a part-time teacher, which subjects do you teach?
A: I teach design, though I was a visiting artist at New Hampshire Institute of Art teaching illustration earlier this year.
Q: Did you ever think you’d be a full-time illustrator/professor?
A: Nope! I went to school for graphic design and became a graphic designer for the 5 years following graduation. Becoming an illustrator was an accident. I would never have thought it was possible. In terms of teaching—I didn’t see that coming either. I was lucky enough to be asked to teach by The Hartford Art School. It’s a great experience and a nice change of pace.
Q: In an earlier interview, you mentioned that you used to work in a corporate office as a graphic designer. Is there any part of you that misses putting on a suit and commuting to an office job everyday?
A: Nope! Honestly, as much as I enjoyed my last job and the people I worked with—I can’t imagine going back to that life.
Q: For our final question, what’s the best/funniest thing a fan has ever said to you?
A: I know someone who got one of my drawings tattooed, really big, on their leg. Does that count?
HA! – it sure does. Thanks Chris!
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