Richard Haines is the jet setting figurative sketcher who beautifully captures catwalk and haute couture looks from the leading fashion houses.
He refers to New York City as an endless runway, the city he moved to, to pursue illustration and it seems that the big apple hasn't let him down. He was a successful fashion designer, working at the likes of J Crew, Calvin Klein, and Perry Ellis, before returning to the life of a fashion illustrator. Each fashion house presented an opportunity for him to develop his illustration skills, making him one of the most in-demand artists on this field.
Felicity Carter: What was your first memory of art?
Richard Haines: My first memory was drawing at a very early age - maybe 4 or 5. My father was very ill when I was that age, and I learned very quickly that I could escape through art - to create an alternative world. Actually, I don't think that it was even a thought process, it was instinctual, primal.
FC: Tell us about your background?
RH: I always drew as a child, and as I got older I copied newspaper ads and fashion illustrators - this is in the 60s - pop culture was in full swing and I would pour over magazines and newspapers and then draw. It was very exciting! I went to college in Virginia - Virginia Commonwealth University, where I studied 'graphic arts' which was advertising layouts. My parents felt that at least I could get a job with that. They could never understand how one could make a living in fashion or art.
FC: How would you sum up your style?
RH: Quick, brief, edited, gestural.
FC: Which have been your favorite fashion week shows?
RH: I always love going to shows. I believe anyone who puts on a show is brave, crazy or both and I appreciate that. Of course, I love Dries Van Noten because I've worked with him, and the Valentino Haute Couture shows are dreams.
FC: Who/what has had the biggest impact on your career?
RH: Who: My daughter, who taught me to be a better person by being her father.
What: Therapy, to learn to be honest with myself.
FC: What do you want to communicate through your works?
RH: Humanity, motion, intimacy, joy, beauty.
FC: What do you want the viewer to feel?
RH: I like to leave lines out, to eliminate. I think this gives the viewer the chance to fill in the pieces. I just came back from a month-long residency at Palazzo Monti in Brescia, Italy and the frescos brought me to tears. Two-thousand-year-old paintings, as fresh and human as the day they were made. That's what I aspire to...
FC: What were the greatest lessons learned when it comes to handling the art world?
RH: I spent most of my career designing so I feel as though I had great training for the art world. But I think there are some rules that are universal: Honesty is the best policy, and think before you speak.