Amelia’s Magazine | Richard Fairhead: Cooler than the Planet Hoth

Star Wars, shell suits and swear words. Richard Fairhead keeps it fun and friendly with his neon coloured sketches and scribbles, work that has caught the attention and recommendation of Vice, Thechicgeek, Random House, YCNonline, VCCPBlue, and AMVBBDO. What I like about his illustration in particular is Fairhead’s bold, resolute, familiar approach, a reference to Hollyoaks here, a mention of Lassie the dog there. Meandering around his portfolio is like catching up with a friend from your school days, hanging out and drinking tea, sharing ‘in’ jokes and poking fun at popular culture. Comforting, knowingly juvenile and a gigglefest. Bliss.


The gentlemanly young man had some clever responses to my probing questions about his habits and inspirations, which you are cordially invited to read all about for yourselves.

Hello, how are you today?

Not bad cheers. Just having a poached egg and a waffle, trying to get over a Thursday morning hangover.

What have you been doing recently?

I’ve just started screen printing again near where I live in Brixton. The prints were for the walls of AMVBBDO, an advertising agency in Baker Street. And just finished a children’s book for learning Mandarin. Can draw a panda with my eyes shut now. In between that, pimping my website wide and far to all, and looking for the right space for another collaborative exhibition.


What materials or mediums do you like to work with best?

Cant go without my fine line pens and Bristol board. And can’t get enough of clicky pencils. All my stuff is hand drawn, then finished off on photoshop, thus my dying g4 ibook is also a must.

Who would be your dream collaboration/who would you like to work with artistically?

If it could be anyone, then probably Ian Stevenson or David Shrigley. Mainly because their work is shit hot and I have a similar sense of humour.


Who or what is your nemesis?

Probably my brother Chris. He’s just completed an illustration degree and we’ve worked on a couple shows and commissions recently. Our style and sense of humour is similar, so don’t want him nicking all my possible clients. We are going to work together on a lot more stuff as soon as. Or the bad liquid metal man from Terminator 2.

What inspires your work?

The everyday and mundane things that everyone has put up with. Anything that involves bright colours, hand drawn text, dancing animals and popular culture. And vodka.


How long do the illustrations usually take you to do?

I can take a few days on commissions and coloured stuff if I’m trying to get it right. A lot of the time if I sketch for a day, its always the first drawing I end up going back to. That can be annoying.

At what age did you realise you were creative?

When I was pretty young, about 7 or 8. I used to draw Gary Larson cartoons from the Farside. And at primary school, I remember flogging drawings of Judge Dredd to a few people. Not very good drawings.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Sitting in a mansion wearing a blue suit like Tony Montana. Failing that, I want
to still be drawing and having worked with lots of creative people/ friends whose
work I like. As long as I’ve still got inspiration to draw and enjoying it, I’m not bothered about
being rich. A bit richer than now though.

Besides art and photography, what are you passions or interests in life?

I like London, screen prints, Adidas, tea, old pubs, Johnny Cash, vodka, unicorns, robots, bears Luc Besson, hand drawn text, wondering through foreign cities, Ritzy Cinema, Chris Cunningham, QOTSA, The Streets, Feta cheese, and bright colours.


Which are your favourite artists/illustrators/photographers?

I would go for – – Ian Stevenson, David Foldvari, Marcel Dzama, Edward Hopper, David Shrigley, Andrew Rae, Mr Bingo, Faille, Sam Kerr, Robert Rauschenberg, my brother. Loads more, which I’ll remember when I’m not doing this.

Tell us a secret!

I though Blade Runner was a bit boring.


What would you pub quiz specialist subject be?

My memory is proper shit, but if I had to choose then probably the films Leon or Jurassic Park, as for some reason I’ve seen them a trillion times. I done my dissertation on a few Chris Cunningham videos, so could regress back to watching those. Not bad with history. Ish.

Who would be your top five dinner guests? Who would do the washing up?

I would get the vodka and falafels on the go and invite round Christopher Walken (from True Romance, he’s proper scary), Michael Corleone, Johnny Cash, Scarlett Johansson (from Lost in Translation, as she’s gorgeous) and Peter Griffin (Family Guy). Would ask Walken to get on the washing up, see if he did a good job.


I’m off to put the kettle on, tune in for some afternoon TV and reminisce about school day friendships. Thanks for the reminder of those awesome times, Richard.


Categories ,Illustration, ,Interview, ,Richard Fairhead

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