Welcome to the Island Artist Series, where we showcase the brilliant minds and artistic talents that help bring our products to life. And for our inaugural post, we couldn't have picked a better star than the one and only Brandon Crawford of Second Sun Design. Not only did he bring his creative genius to our CRUSH line rebranding project, but he also left us crushed with his awe-inspiring illustrations. So sit back, relax, and let's get to know the one and only Brandon Crawford.
Island Brands: What inspired you to become an artist/designer, and where do you find inspiration for your work?
Brandon: I failed as an architect. Ha! No but seriously, I was studying to become an architect and found myself in engineering classes and my brain don't do math good. I was introduced to a graphic design class in college and the rest is history. I fell in love and it changed my life over night. My inspiration really comes from anywhere I can find it; Anything that makes me say, "Oooo that's nice." I AM A TYPOGRAPHY JUNKY/NERD, and love anything from the mid-century era of design.
IB: Where did you get the idea for the style behind the CRUSH illustrations?
BC: I got the idea from mid 80's-90' skate culture. Like most kids my age I used to skateboard all the time and once we starting exploring the demographics for the new CRUSH line I thought this "Jim Phillip-esk" style of just wild funky graphics and illustrations would work perfectly for the visual brand.
IB: How would you describe your artistic style, and what techniques do you use frequently in your work?
BC: I would describe my style as "no-style." To be more precise I believe it is just ever evolving. I will dabble here and there and until I stubble upon something I just ride out for that season. But for this particular project, I have sketch books filled with these wild off-centered illustrations and I just knew I could do good work for the visual brand.
I use a multitude of techniques with my illustrations. For example: color pencils, charcoal, graphite, photography, relief block printing techniques, all the way up to Procreate with my Ipad and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I have found myself being too reliant on digital tools recently, so when that happens I just to wrangle myself back in and just put pencil to paper.
IB: What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an artist, and how do you overcome them?
BC: One of my biggest challenges in recent years is just trying to get off-line. Trying to not compare myself to other designers and artists. As designers we seek out this stuff and sometimes we can find ourselves emulated things that we see online and other places. I am trying to over come these challenges by just shutting it all down and spending the time alone with my sketchbooks and whatever flows out, flows out. Creating a very distinct style is extraordinarily hard thing to do and it takes years and years to develop. I don't think I will ever hit that pinnacle by bombarding myself with other's work.
IB: How do you stay motivated to create, and what do you do when you experience artistic blocks?
BC: Ha! Motivation is a mermaid. It doesn't exist with this type of work in my opinion, at-least in the sense how other people use that word. We as designers and artist just flow in and out of out "flow" state. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes its very rewarding but I never just feel motivated to sit down and work on things. But that being said, by putting my ass in my chair every morning and just starting, that's it, just starting on something, I sometimes see that mermaid waving at me before she goes back under the sea.
I read the book The War of Art and it stated (i'm paraphrasing here) "inspiration strikes every morning at 9am." Meaning you just gotta show up. I'd rather be playing golf most of my days but when I do find myself at my desk, fully engaged in my work, it is the best feeling in the world.
IB: Who are some of your favorite artist/designers, and how have they influenced your work?
BC: Oooof, where to even start on this one. Again, I am typography junky and love anything early to midcentury design. Here is a short list of designers that have influenced me a lot: Aaron Draplin, Timba Smitts, DKNG, Ken Taylor, Scott Suguichi, Brethren Studios, Hired Gun Agency, The Hood Sisters, Gill Shuler (a Charleston Native) and Chris Kemp (another Charleston native). Just to name a few. I have found these creatives draw from the same era of design that catches my eye the best.