Coming Back to my Original Dream is Pretty Amazing
“I just wish people would put some more effort into getting dressed, it’s like manners; it’s just a sign of respect for others.”
The sketch work of Richard Haines is quite incredible. The way he records what he sees is much more than just ‘a visual record of cool stuff guys wear’ because his sketches go much deeper than just menswear. From his time spent in DC and Paris to finally coming back to his original dream gives hope to the dreamer in all of us.
Your signature is quite unique; how did you come up with the idea to stamp your name on your illustrations instead of signing it?
I don’t like my handwriting- I couldn’t figure out a style that would work with the drawings,so a friend mentioned a stamp, and I thought it was a great idea. One thing I learned from working with people like Calvin Klein was consistency of your signature, your brand. So the stamp did that for me, and it has a touch of Warhol too-one of my heroes!
I read that you are pretty excited to sketch the Brooklyn band, Grizzly Bear… Why so and do you like their music as well?
Well, I would love to, but sadly nothing has transpired from my expressing my love for them. I think they have amazing, complex and handsome faces, and their music is rich and dense. For me, they also represent a moment in time of my discovering how much I love living in Brooklyn. I call them my “soundtrack” music.
Why do you believe that “NYC is an endless runway”?
Well, it’s part of my”‘blurb” on the blog, so yeah, I still feel that way! I’ve lived here a long time, and I’m constantly amazed at the energy and vitality of the streets here. It’s such a small area, so densely packed with people, and everything is on display in a really intimate way-everyone sees everything up close. I love that.
Can you tell me more about why you moved to New York City to pursue your fashion / illustration career?
I was living in DC right after college, and went to Paris the year after I graduated. By the time I came back, Washington felt so small, and I knew it was time to move. I didn’t study fashion illustration but always loved it-when I got to NYC I was so intimidated by the major talents like Antonio and Joe Eula so I kind of retreated and pursued a career in fashion design. So to come back to my original dream is pretty amazing.
Most stylish musician / band of the past 50 years and why?
Oh, jeez. That’s kind of a difficult question to answer. Brian Ferry is very chic, and of course the Rolling Stones were amazing. I’ve always had a thing for the way the English put themselves together: unassuming,rakish, spontaneous, and a bit messy.
I love the sketches you do over typed pages/floor plans/menus/pictures … Where does your inspiration come from for your sketches?
Oh thanks! That started as a pretty random thing, I was someplace, I think Cafe Ella in Williamsburg, and I wanted to sketch some guys walking by and I grabbed a newspaper because I didn’t have any paper. I usually forget one key thing-paper, a pencil sharpener, and sometimes that works to my advantage. From there it developed to buying cheap books and drawing on them. I think people love the intimacy of it and it adds another dimension to the drawings.
I saw an image of you sketching with some headphones on … What were you listening to and what impact has music had on you as an artist?
I love the headphones because I spend more time on trains since my move to Bushwick. I listen to all kinds of stuff … James Blake, Radiohead, and I always go back to Curtis Mayfield and Lynn Collins when I need a pick me up! Music has a huge impact. It changes my mood, sometimes for better, sometimes not as much.
In my opinion, Michael Caine has had some of the most iconic eyewear since the start of his career. I find, however ,that most people start wearing “cool” frames or frames that work on their faces and then stray away from this “cool” look and wear seriously oversized frames …. Do you think this is caused by middle-age or lack thereof anyone telling them that it just doesn’t look good? And, P.S , I really dig your choice of eyewear.
I can only speak for myself (and thanks for the compliment, I love my frames, too!). My theory is the older one gets, the more dramatic the frames should be … that was inspired by Aristotle Onassis. I don’t know about big frames like Estelle Getty wore in “Golden Girls”, but I’m working up to the frames with the super thick sides a la Ari!
“Matthew Poses in a Mask” is an amazing sketch … How did this sketch come about?
Thanks again! That was a kind of turning point for me. Matthew is a beautiful, creative man. We spoke about my sketching him for a while, and at one point he mentioned he wanted to bring some “props” for the session. When he pulled the mask out, I flipped. He really helped me take my work to another level from just fashion illustration. I think that’s why it’s so important to find the right people to collaborate with. It’s very exciting to work with someone on this level.
Favorite article of clothing in your closet?
That’s hard to say. I love a military jacket I bought a few years ago at J Crew. It’s just the right fit and fabric. Right now I’m wearing shirts by Gitman, they’re a really heavy oxford and the cut is super slim. I love classic things like a button down reshaped. I’ve had some shoes from Church’s in London and Weston’s in Paris for over 25 years and every time I put them on, I love them, so maybe long term it’s all about well made shoes!
This may not be the case in fashionable cities like NYC or Paris, but what you think has happened to the pride in an individual’s desire to dress “like a million bucks”?
This question is worthy of a dissertation! I think about this a lot. I look around, people look like hell, it’s startling at times. It’s a tough call … I’m a child of the 50s and 60s and I saw all the formality fall away, but with it I saw all kinds of discrimination and bias, so despite sweat pants and track suits, I think this is a much more tolerant, open world, which I love. I just wish people would put some more effort into getting dressed, it’s like manners; it’s just a sign of respect for others.
Who is your favorite artist or what artist has truly inspired your work?
It’s impossible to say I have a “favorite”. There’s just too much good art in the world! Seeing Antonio’s work was very dramatic for me. He is a fashion illustrator who came on the scene in the 60s, his work is exceptional. If anyone reading this loves illustration and doesn’t know him, hit Google stat! I saw Picasso’s work at Gagosian the other day and was moved all over again by his genius … and the lines of Matisse, the grasp of the future by Warhol. There’s just too much to choose from…