Exclusive: Craig and Karl x Milk Made
From Kanye West and LeBron portraits to spreads for Vogue and commissions by LVMH, The Louvre and Nike, everything is up for grabs in the playful, eclectic world of artists Craig Redman and Karl Maier. In preparation for their upcoming collaboration for MADE Fashion Week where they will be creating original artworks based on their favorite looks, Milk Made take a trip through their prolific body of work and chat to the duo about aesthetic, front row hysterics and their favorite band.
What is it like to collaborate with each other when you don’t even live in the same continent?
Thanks to the wonders of Skype and Line it’s pretty easy. We’re efficient with our crossover hours and we often take turns passing artwork between ourselves to speed things along, as well as to get a new perspective. We instinctively get each other which makes operating in different cities across the Atlantic workable. Every project we work on starts as a conversation between the two us us where we kick around ideas until we feel like we have something that can be developed further. Generally we can get a pretty specific idea of what we want to do just by talking it through. Usually one of us will then start working on something tangible which we’ll then kick around some more, working out the kinks until we’ve got something we’re happy with.
You have an array of portraits from Mickey Mouse to Obama to Kanye West. How do you choose what people to draw?
We always draw subjects we like, never anyone or thing we don’t really care for. Being into the person we’re drawing makes us enthusiastic which is always reflected in the finished artwork. We try to encapsulate the subjects personality into the portraits, through the use of color mostly, and this usually adds a more personal touch to the piece too.
Your pieces clearly experiment with the relationship between colors and patterns. Do the right mixtures happen at random or is there a more calculated, semi-mathematical way to figure out what looks good next to each other?
We have been playing with color for a long time so we’ve become pretty practiced at what works and what doesn’t. We have a relatively consistent palette, mostly of pretty difficult, lurid colors and we enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make one sit with another. Patterns give us an opportunity to add texture into our work and also allow us to play with weird sense of scale.
What artists have been the most influential on your work?
David Hockney probably stands out. We’re also super into Tauba Auerbach, Jonas Wood, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Martin Creed, Jayson Musson, Olaf Breuning, David Benjamin Sherry, Takeshi Murata, Urs Fischer, Matt Connors, Laura Owens – we could go on…
Fashion seems like a natural partner for your artwork but how did you first step into that realm?
It wasn’t something we intentionally planned, it just kind of panned out that way. A lot of our friends are in the industry, whether they are designers, stylists, photographers etc., so from early on we were helping them out on projects and these project then lead to others etc. We’re also personally very interested and influenced by fashion which comes across in our work.
What’s the most fun aspect of your work?
We get to travel a lot, which is not necessarily fun but since we live in different countries these are the times we usually meet up after we haven’t seen each other for a while – that’s the fun part.
You’re about to take over Milk Made for MADE Fashion Week. What can we expect from this?
Bright colors, clashing patterns, fun times and probably a little humor.
Which designers are you looking forward to checking out why?
Patrik Ervell, he always does great collections and we both have a bunch of his stuff in our wardrobes. Jeremy Scott always does a fun show, and we’re into seeing what Ostwald Helgason come up with next too.
What do you think would be the funniest thing that could happen during Fashion Week?
We’ve seen front row seating collapse before, that’s always funny when you’re crammed up the back in the standing area. And certainly we’re not afraid of seeing a heel break and a model wobble down the runway.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
If you had to listen to music by only one artist/band for the rest of your lives who would you choose?
My Bloody Valentine.
How did you guys meet and what made you start working together?
We met in the first year of art college and have been working together, in one form or another ever since. Despite now living in different cities we know each other very well so we have a good understanding how the other works. We respect the others opinion immensely and because of this we can make quick decisions about things, get on with what’s best and make stuff actually happen.
All images courtesy of Craig and Karl. Follow them on Instagram @craigandkarl