Interview with Craig Redman by Doris Cardinali


Craig Redman an Australian born artist living and working in New York. He runs a studio with Karl Maier (Craig & Karl), and thou they live on opposite sides of the world they collaborate daily to produce bright and thoughtful work.

Craig & Karl have exhibited across the world, most notably at the Musée de la Publicité, Louvre. They have worked on projects for clients like LVMH, Nike, Apple, Vogue, Microsoft, Converse, MTV and The New York Times [!].

1. I had a look at  your web site in order to understand what kind of work you and Karl Maier are doing. I’ve noticed that you work in New York and Karl on the other side of the world, in Sydney. How did this original collaboration began?

Karl and I have known each other since we were 17, we meet in the first semester of art college and have worked together in various ways ever since. We have an almost exactly similar aesthetic and approach to projects so we work well as a team when required, despite our location differences. 

2.Your work is closely linked to the area of communication and marketing, including the collaboration with famous firms such as Vogue and Apple, but it is also displayed in museums like the Musée de la Publicité. How would you define your work? And where would you locate it in the traditional articulation of the arts?

I guess I’m still in the process of figuring it out. I was trained as a designer so it comes naturally to me to do commercial work, I enjoy it and get a kick out of seeing my work on products etc., even thou that doesn’t sit well in the art world. I love exhibiting too, so for now it’s a matter of balance between the two.

3.Your exhibition “Craig Redman Solo Show: GUISE”, organized by Slam Jam, will display several portraits, including that of the film director Michelangelo Antonioni:

  • What kind of technique did you use in the portraits?

Firstly I curate who I want to do portraits of, it’s always people that I admire, whether it be because of their work or their personality or even just because of their facial characteristics. Then I scour the internet for images, taking parts I like in each and recomposing them in Photoshop. Then I redraw it by hand before scanning it back into the computer for another redrawing and coloring. If the finished product is a print it will then be digitally outputted or screenprinted, if it’s a painting I then begin the process of transferring the image to canvas.  

  • What does the figure of Michelangelo Antonioni mean in your exhibition?

For the exhibition at Slam Jam I wanted to mix a varied set of popular culture icons that I love and respect. It was important to get a good mix of artists, film makers, musician and even sports personalities from both a global and Italian perspective and Antonioni fit perfectly into the final mix.  

  • What is the relationship between you, your work and the cinema of Antonioni?

During my college years my friends and I used to watch Antonioni movies, particularly ones from the 60’s and 70’s. I’ve always been particularly taken with the way he uses color, whether it be in his landscapes, set designs or even in the characters clothing. The way he sets his scenes also have a very graphic quality which inspired me greatly at the time and still does to this day.  

  • Did you make exhibitions in Italy before? If so, where?

The two exhibitions at Slam Jam were my first!

  • Are you happy to show your work in Antonioni’s hometown?

It’s such an honor for me to be able to show my portrait and sculpture of Antonioni in his hometown. I was apprehensive about people would react since he has such a special meaning and relationship to the town, but everyone has been super supportive of the project and for that I’m very thankful.

4. Cultural events, like your exhibit, are welcomed in Italy, because of the cultural interest they produce. As you know, the present crisis has led to cut off funds for culture and arts in Europe and in our country. What do you think about this economic and cultural situation?  How does the world of arts look to you nowadays?

I think if your an artist, economic crisis or not, you are still have the passion to produce work and share a message. Despite being a rather cynical person I think there is a rather hopeful optimism in my work - It’s bright, bold, fun and is ultimately intended to make you happy. Overall I try to create strong work that is filled with simple messages executed in a thoughtful and often humorous way. In tough times we think out ideas more thoroughly and become more practical about how we might produce a piece of art and a show and this is actually a good lesson to remember in better times. Throwing more money at something doesn’t make something automically have a better outcome, in the end it’s the concept that people are most interested in. 

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