Today, get to know the talented man behind the illustrations from the Shanghai collection...
Hi Craig, how are you?
Well hello there.
Could you tell me a little bit more about your background?
I studied design at college where I met a bunch of friends and we eventually became a collective called Rinzen. Rinzen has been together ten years this year and we've worked on projects from eight story murals in Tokyo to the design of Batman comics to international campaigns and exhibiting work worldwide. These days I live and work in New York and work on lots of projects from ongoing collaborations with Parisian store colette to commissioned work from The New York Times.
What was your dream as a little boy?
To be an architect. When I was 10 I had an gridded sketch book that I would carry everywhere with me, in it I would sketch out redesigned floorplans of my grandma's and aunties houses. This is all in a very small town in country Australia, they must have thought I was nuts.
How did you become an artist?
Natural progression. In my teens I segued from architecture (ha) to graphic design, then at college to illustration and eventually to where I am now, exhibiting work. Definitely not something I consciously set out to do or become.
Could you describe your creative process?
First I start researching the subject at hand, followed by researching imagery on the net (thank you Google images!). During this process I usually developing ideas in my head, and eventually start sketching these out to see what works and what doesn't. Once this is done I bring my sketches into the computer and start recreating them as vector files, this process enables me to be incredibly anal and precise with the finished product.
What inspired you for the Shanghai Collection?
To get a more thorough idea of Shanghai for this collection I started by exploring some of the city's history. It was interesting to discover Shanghai was originally a shipping town which then grew into a port city open to foreign trade in the 19th century. I like the idea of shipping opening Shanghai to the world. This started me thinking about old shipping ropes and then the variety of patterns that ropes can make when entwined together, which led to my idea for the pattern I developed for the MCM bags. I like that the intertwining rope could also metaphorically express the idea of modern Shanghai, one where new and old, traditional and modern mix. Shipping is also a nod to one MCM's core brand values - that of travel. Traveling via ship is a nostalgic idea of luxury and is in keeping with MCM's heritage.
Tell me about your collaboration with MCM?
It was fun. We worked together on a few initial ideas and eventually settled on the rope concept which we were all very happy with. I liked the rope because, apart from the story it tells about Shanghai's history, it's also simple enough to not be too intrusive (unless you want it to be, like the multi-colored versions). I also liked how the intertwined ropes could run along the lines of the diagonal MCM pattern, sometimes it could run over the MCM diamond and logo, other times it could frame it. This way the rope pattern truly becomes a visual part MCM's traditional pattern, rather than visually fighting it.
Rope is pretty traditional iconography to use, so I wanted to modernize it through the use of colour. By creating a multi-colored pattern the design becomes youthful, by keeping it one colour it becomes more traditional, so it was interesting to play around with different variations.
What is your favourite bag from the collection?
I love the simple shape of the 'Shopper' and the way the multi-coloured rope sits against the tan. But being a dude, my real favourite is the 'Weekender' - I like the subtler colors and the size is perfect for, er, a weekend!